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Obama press conference: 'anger and frustration' over oil spill

The president defended his administration’s performance. But the Obama press conference comes as a Gallup Poll finds public dissatisfaction with the handling of the crisis.

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The early Republican criticism that this could become Obama’s “Katrina,” referring to the perception that President Bush was slow in responding to hurricane Katrina in 2005, has started to gain wider traction.

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No less a Democratic ally than James Carville, now living in his native Louisiana, bashed Obama Wednesday for what he called the “political stupidity” of his response to the Gulf crisis. “I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here,” Mr. Carville said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Obama’s press conference – his first long, solo East Room appearance before the press corps since last July – seemed almost a direct response to Carville. In response to the 10th and final question of the afternoon, the president cast his reaction in personal terms, speaking of his native Hawaii.

“My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about – the spill,” he said.

On Thursday morning, he said, when he was shaving, his daughter Malia peeked her head into the bathroom and said, “Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?”

“I think everybody understands that, you know, when we are fouling the earth like this, it has concrete complications not just for this generation but for future generations.

“I grew up in Hawaii, where the ocean is sacred. And when you see birds flying around with – with oil all over their feathers and turtles dying and – ... that doesn't just speak to the immediate economic consequences of this. This speaks to, you know, how are we caring for this incredible bounty that we have?”

IN PICTURES: Louisiana oil spill