POLITICS

Robert Gibbs Defends Deepwater Drilling Moratorium In YouTube Q&A (VIDEO)

06/16/2010 11:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Following President Obama's first Oval Office address Tuesday night on the massive BP oil spill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered questions from the public -- submitted via YouTube prior to the primetime televised event -- about the environmental catastrophe.

In the 25-minute online chat Gibbs sent a strong message defending the deepwater drilling moratorium issued by the Obama administration in the wake of the spill and also signaled that BP executives visiting the White House Wednesday should expect a stern reprimand from the President.

"The president told us that because we don't know what caused this accident, we can't afford to continue drilling those 33 [deepwater] wells without knowing what happened," Gibbs said. "The president didn't feel comfortable with that."

On BP's efforts to clean-up and stop the oil that continues to ooze into the Gulf of Mexico, Gibbs called the oil giant's response plan "very insufficient," before adding, "that's probably the understatement of the night."

Gibbs fielded questions sitting alongside White House director of Digital Media Macon Phillips. Those questions fell into one of four categories: BP Accountability, Cleanup Plan, Gulf Region recovery, and Environmental impact. 7,230 questions were submitted prior to the online Q&A by 14,780 people before 192,120 voted to determine which were the best.

Politico notes one question that Gibbs appeared to leave unanswered -- whether the Obama administration is considering canceling the country's existing leases with BP:

"We can't take BP's word for it that they have safety procedures in place to ensure that what happened 57 or 58 days ago doesn't repeat itself," Gibbs said, never discussing the BP debarment review, which was actually underway due to several environmental and safety violations by the company before the gulf spill began in April.

WATCH: Gibbs Holds Q&A About BP Oil Spill Following Obama Oval Office Address

More:

Robert Gibbs
Suggest a correction