What impact has the spill had on tourism?
Today, our beaches are still pristine and beautiful. We’ve had no oil reach the Mississippi shoreline. Twice we’ve had a very small volume of emulsified oil—kind of an orange glob that has washed ashore on one of our barrier islands 12 miles offshore. But our tourist season has been devastated. It didn’t matter what the hotel or the inn said, the tourist who was 500 miles away just couldn’t accept that because of the way the news coverage made it look.
You’ve been measured in your criticism of the President.
First of all, this shouldn’t be about politics. This is a very serious episode that could end up being catastrophic. At the same time, I’ve been willing to say, as I said about the Bush Administration after Katrina, it did a lot more right than it did wrong. They had some mistakes early. The same thing is true of this Administration. And any time you have an unforeseen, unprecedented disaster of this magnitude, it’s silly to think everything’s going to go like you hoped. I will say about this Administration, they have tried to do everything we’ve asked them to, and in fairness, so has BP (BP). But right now we are seeing that the command-and-control system the government set up is not serving us very well.