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Politicians use oil spill to posture

(This is almost true.)

Pushing and shoving erupted briefly Monday on the coast of Florida's Panhandle beaches when the number of politicians seeking camera opportunities exceeded the available beachfront.

No injuries were reported, but local authorities in Pensacola were forced to impose a system of permits for beach access for political speechmaking based on rank.

Presidents will continue to have unlimited beach access, followed by state governors, U.S. senators, state Cabinet members, U.S. representatives, state legislators, and last, locally elected officials.

Pensacola authorities also asked politicians posing for cameras on the beaches to abide by a "voluntary code" of time-saving activities, including arriving on the beach already in shirtsleeves and limiting the number of times they use the word "appalled."

"With just a little cooperation from all parties, I'm sure we can get through this crisis," said a spokesman for Escambia County's emergency services department.

A spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist said the governor was willing to abide by the restrictions but, five minutes later, announced the governor had reversed his position.

"No one ranks in front of Charlie Crist when it comes to wearing grim expressions and shirtsleeves in times of crisis," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile Monday, President Barack Obama, Crist, state Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, engaged in a bidding war over how much money they thought oil giant BP should have to pay for the disaster continuing to spread through the Gulf of Mexico.

"Only by demanding increasingly ridiculous sums of money from BP can we show we are doing anything about this crisis," Obama said.

Obama opened the bidding by saying BP should not be able to pay any dividends to its shareholders. Every politician or candidate in Florida immediately issued a statement bragging that Obama had just stolen his or her idea.

Crist one-upped Obama by demanding that BP fork over "one zillion" dollars, apparently under the mistaken belief it was a real number.

McCollum demanded "all the money BP will ever make" and Sink proposed "all the money in the world." Each campaign took credit for outdoing the other.

The president, meanwhile, signaled his increasingly grim determination not to look like an effete, disconnected, think-o-crat by … spending the night outside the White House.

"Nobody can accuse President Obama of not swinging into action now," presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

Obama planned to return to the White House to address the nation Tuesday evening, showing that he is "super-duper on the case. Not even health care got an Oval Office speech," Gibbs said. "See?"

In other developments Monday, BP announced a major breakthrough: a new, improved version of its "We'll Make This Right" advertising campaign. The main thrust consists of more "We'll Make This Right" advertising.

Elsewhere, in London, British officials and opinion-makers expressed resentment over American resentment against the British oil corporation, calling it "a bit of an overreaction from you silly Yanks."

American officials responded with a proposal to transport "a bit of the oil spill" from the Gulf of Mexico and dump it into the Thames.

Politicians use oil spill to posture 06/14/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 10:24pm]

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