NBC's Mitchell: If Obama Would Have Just 'Eaten Some Shrimp,' He Could Have Avoided Criticism

On Wednesday's "Morning Joe" the panelists were reviewing Barack Obama's response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and

host Joe Scarborough

asserted, "A poll yesterday shows that more people think that the government is mishandling this [more] than Katrina, which is just, I think, ridiculous," with fellow MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell agreeing as she claimed Obama could have diminished criticism if a week earlier, he had "gone down there and stayed and had a meal with the people, eaten some shrimp." [MP3 audio avaiable here]



held out hope that success is still attainable for the president because this crisis is a "marathon" and "not a sprint. He can play catch up."

While the Gulf is being ravaged with an estimated 12,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil daily and its residents' livelihoods are being destroyed, it is reassuring to hear


offer that this is above all, a test of endurance for the president.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski added her concern, wondering, "have we been covering it intensely?"

Even though the oil spill has been a topic of discussion every day since it started,


practically insulted his audience by claiming that they were unaware of the president's efforts and that, "there is a disconnect between that reality and the perception of Americans."

The following exchange was aired during the June 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Andrea, we saw in a poll yesterday that more people think that the government is mishandling this [more] than Katrina, which is just, I think, ridiculous.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, if they had, and the they acknowledged this himself, If the president a week ago Friday, had gone down there and stayed and had a meal with people, eaten some shrimp, talked to people, talked to the victims' families that are coming in tomorrow, if that had all happened a week earlier, it could probably have mitigated this. I still think the fact he's going to go down, spend an overnight, go to all three states, this Monday and Tuesday will be a real opportunity. And his last visit was a success.

SCARBOROUGH: By the way, this is a marathon, Norah, not a sprint. He can play catch-up, but I will tell you know - first of all, we've got, let's just say, chastened by some very senior officials in the white house for saying he should have stayed down there through Memorial Day weekend. Well, now guess what they're saying inside the White House? You know what, he should have stayed all of Memorial Day weekend. They know that now, but this is a marathon.


REPORTER: Many Americans believe that the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina actually was slightly better than the federal response to this disaster. What's your response to that?

THAD ALLEN: My response was, I was part of both of them, okay, and they're not comparable for a lot of different reasons. There was not a lot of assets present at Katrina, there was not a Ford Federal presence for quite a while. We were involved in this thing from the start. I'll give you an exhaustive list of what's alike and not alike between the two of them. I don't believe they're comparable.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Alright, great to have you with us in Washington. What a night last night, and yesterday, Thad Allen pushing back.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI : Yes, And the White House is pushing back in a lot of different ways, and in many cases, I think they have a point. They have been there from day one. The question is, have we been covering it intensely?

SCARBOROUGH: Yes, and we've been saying what Thad Allen said yesterday, repeatedly.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, we have, I know. I feel they're pushing back from a narrative that at least as far as I have heard on our show, I haven't seen.

NORAH O'DONNELL: But let me say this: the president in his May 27th news conference even talked about that his own daughter, Malia, asked him, did you plug the hole yet, daddy? Whether it's wrong or right, there is a sense that the president should be able to fix the whole problem. Now, he can't plug the hole. He's not Superman, and he's not the head of BP. But, In a "Washington post" poll, 40% believe he's out of touch, does not connect with regular people. So this is a political problem for the President.

SCARBOROUGH: You're right, Norah, a lot of frustration at the White House. They're frustrated with the people that come on this show every morning and talk about how there is a disconnect, but that is the political reality in Washington, D.C. If they've done everything they could do, which I think I've said repeatedly, they have, there is a disconnect between that reality and the perception of Americans.

-Rachel Burnett is News Analysis intern for the Media Research Center. You can follow her on Twitter here.