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Obama tries to reassure Americans over oil spill

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Oil gushing from the blown well in the Gulf of Mexico (AP)

Oil gushing from the blown well in the Gulf of Mexico (AP)

Heavy oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill reached wildlife sanctuaries(AP)

Heavy oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill reached wildlife sanctuaries(AP)

A boat pulls a boom into the Gulf of Mexico in a bid to stem leaking oil

A boat pulls a boom into the Gulf of Mexico in a bid to stem leaking oil

A worker feeds a boom into the Gulf of Mexico in a bid to contain the oil spill

A worker feeds a boom into the Gulf of Mexico in a bid to contain the oil spill

Oil is continuing to leak into the Gulf of Mexico

Oil is continuing to leak into the Gulf of Mexico

Oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the rig blew up and sank

Oil in the Gulf of Mexico after the rig blew up and sank

Oil is gushing from a broken pipe into the Gulf of Mexico

Oil is gushing from a broken pipe into the Gulf of Mexico

Support ships in oily water near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Support ships in oily water near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Video footage shows oil gushing from a pipe in the Gulf of Mexico

Video footage shows oil gushing from a pipe in the Gulf of Mexico

Vessels try to contain the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Vessels try to contain the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

A boat moves through oily water at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

A boat moves through oily water at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Helicopters drop sandbags to try and stem an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Helicopters drop sandbags to try and stem an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

BP is trying to stem the spread of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

BP is trying to stem the spread of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Oil from the leaking Deep Horizon oil rig swirls in the Gulf of Mexico (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Oil from the leaking Deep Horizon oil rig swirls in the Gulf of Mexico (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

An oil soaked bird struggles against side of a ship in the Gulf of Mexico (AP)

An oil soaked bird struggles against side of a ship in the Gulf of Mexico (AP)

Oil seen from an aerial view at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico (AP/US Navy)

Oil seen from an aerial view at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico (AP/US Navy)

A boat works to collect oil that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico

A boat works to collect oil that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico

A bird is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A bird is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A brown pelican is mired in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010

A brown pelican is mired in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlie Riedel

A sea bird is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A sea bird is mired in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A pair of Brown Pelicans, covered in oil, sit on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast, Thursday, June 3, 2010

A pair of Brown Pelicans, covered in oil, sit on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast, Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlie Riedel

A bird covered in oil flails in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A bird covered in oil flails in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A brown pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A brown pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A bird flies above oil on the Gulf of Mexico off of East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A bird flies above oil on the Gulf of Mexico off of East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A bird flies above oil on the Gulf of Mexico off of East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A bird flies above oil on the Gulf of Mexico off of East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A Brown Pelican sits in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A Brown Pelican sits in heavy oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

AP

AP

Charlie Riedel

A Brown Pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast after being drenched in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Thursday, June 3, 2010.

A Brown Pelican is seen on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast after being drenched in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Charlie Riedel

A Brown Pelican sits covered in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Brown Pelican sits covered in oil on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlie Riedel

/

Oil gushing from the blown well in the Gulf of Mexico (AP)

After weeks of dire news from the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama stepped forward yesterday to reassure the American public that “we will get through this crisis”, even if the way out is certain to be long and arduous.

It is now 50 days since crude began gushing from the sea bed.

Mr Obama spoke just as a new poll for ABC News came out showing that more than two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government has fallen short in its response. A majority also said the government should pursue criminal charges against BP.

Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, suggested that, even after BP has paid for compensation and the clean-up it will face “billions” in fines for the accident. Those fines could total $4,300 (£2,972) per barrel spilled into the ocean, he said.

BP — whose shares have lost about one-third of their value since the crisis began — said that the cost of the spill response so far had reached $1.25bn.

Admiral Thad Allen of the US Coast Guard told reporters that BP is now aiming to use its “top-hat” containment dome as well as other pipes being readied at the well-head to siphon 20,000 barrels a day into waiting tankers.

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