(adds Obama “Today” interview, paragraphs 4-5)
WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans on Monday that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be stopped, even as he warned that the economic impacts of the disaster would be substantial and ongoing.
“This will be contained,” Obama told reporters after a White House meeting on the spill with Cabinet officials. “It may take some time and it’s going to take a whole lot of effort. ... But the one thing I’m absolutely confident about is that, as we have before, we will get through this crisis.”
Obama has come under pressure for not showing enough personal involvement in the spill response effort. On Friday he traveled to Louisiana to meet with local business owners affected by the disaster.
Obama responded to critics in an NBC “Today” show interview airing on Tuesday, saying he visited the Gulf region before “most of these talking heads” were paying attention to the oil spill.
“And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answer so I know who’s ass to kick,” Obama said in a excerpt released on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, Obama met with his economic and environmental advisers. “The economic impact of this disaster is going to be substantial and it is going to be ongoing,” he said.
Obama said the administration was pushing BP to be prepared for a hurricane to make sure its efforts to contain the spill were not disrupted.
The president repeated that he did not want to see the London-based company “nickel and diming these businesses that are having a very tough time.”
Obama and other administration officials have been focusing criticism on BP’s response to damage claims in recent days. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Joanne Allen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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