President Obama will hit at least five major points during his prime time address from the Oval Office on Tuesday evening, a senior administration officials tells the Huffington Post. But the main focus and strongest emphasis will be on the administration's battle plan for containing and cleaning up the oil and the need to make investments in clean energy going forward.
Addressing the oil spill crisis in the Gulf, Obama will start his roughly 20-minute speech with reflections from the last two days he spent touring sites along the coast. From there he will lay out in specifics what his administration has done so far in terms of response, cleanup, and institutional reform.
According to the senior administration official, Obama will make the following points:
1. He will address steps the administration's made and its ongoing commitment to "reorganization at the Department of Interior," specifically the Minerals Management Services, which was chiefly responsible for overseeing offshore drilling (and which, by most sober-minded accounts, failed in that mission). Along these lines, Obama will stress, according to the official, that the "mission of the Oil Commission [set up to suggest post-disaster reforms] is to ensure a regulatory structure for safe energy exploration."
2. The president will also "discuss our containment strategy for capturing as much of or all the oil leaking in the Gulf."
3. Obama will also address, "The BP claims process and what we're doing to make it fast, efficient and transparent and to ensure its independence from BP." The official could not comment on how specific Obama will get about Congressional efforts to lift the liability cap for BP and other companies. Nor was there talk about whether the President would give a detailed explanation of the escrow account that his administration supports for helping victims of the spill. The President is meeting with BP executives on Wednesday, at which point more details on such an account will likely emerge.
4. Obama will detail "the beginning of a process to restore the Gulf to a place better than it was before the Deepwater Horizon exploded," the official said.
5. Finally, he will "talk about what we must do to decrease our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels."
The last point seems likely to be the most watched among politics observers Tuesday night. Reform proponents are hoping for a strong sign of commitment from Obama on this front, figuring that if the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history can't spur action -- or presidential leadership -- nothing will. The official said audiences could expect a "strong endorsement" of pursuing policies that would end the nation's "dependence on fossil fuels." Whether it will specifically address climate change legislation (in addition to energy overhaul) is unclear.
As of Monday evening the speech had not been written. It will obviously include input from Obama himself, who has been taking in on-the-ground information from his time in the Gulf as well as technical input from members of his administration and industry officials. There are press officials with him on the trip. But the chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is working from D.C. -- not from the Gulf, as previously reported.
UPDATE: Jake Tapper, over at ABC, had similar bullet points on Monday from the White House as well.