Nightly News   |  May 31, 2010

Obama critics: Make BP responsible

With the toll of the oil disaster weighing on the Obama administration, critics have begun to question the government's role in handling the growing spill. Mike Viqueira reports from the White House.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> nbc kerry sanders reporting there.

>>> president obama who went to the gulf coast on friday spent memorial day weekend in chicago as the toll of this disaster weighs on his administration. mike viquerra is at the white house .

>> reporter: the president is due back in washington where the political fallout of the still gushing leak is growing bigger by the day. today outside chicago the president observed memorial day when the skies opened up. a violent storm so severe that the president himself took the stage to order attendes to take cover.

>> good afternoon, everybody. a little bit of rain doesn't hurt anybody but we don't want anybody struck by lightning.

>> he returns to washington to deal with the manmade disaster unfolding in the gulf as frustrations and criticism mount.

>> why doesn't bp and the federal government give an hourly report and say everything they know.

>> reporter: bp stands accused of deliberately underestimating how much oil was gushing and overestimating their ability to deal with it.

>> i think they were lying or incompetent. either way the consequences for the gulf of mexico are catastrophic.

>> reporter: others say the administration has given far too much leeway to bp .

>> make bp pay for this. the federal government shouldn't be making excuses for bp .

>> reporter: as experts fear lasting environmental damage to wildlife and livelihoods in the gulf, some see a long-term impact to the president's legacy.

>> no matter when the well is capped this is a permanent problem for the obama administration.

>> reporter: kate, the president says the best moonds of government are on the job alongside bp officials. this week he is sending a host of cabinet officials to the gulf to respond.

>> mike, thank you.

>>> brian williams will be back