Let’s see if we have this straight: At the same time an oil spill is leaking millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, the head of the federal agency that oversees drilling is fired, forced out or quits – and the president of the United States has no idea what happened, even as he assures the country he’s responsible, engaged and on task. At issue is the departure of Elizabeth Birnbaum, who had led the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service since last July. Birnbaum’s shop has been the focal point of criticism in the wake of the BP spill. She got the boot, was shoved or fell on her sword the very morning of President Obama’s news conference on the leak. Asked about Birnbaum, the commander in chief said he didn’t know the circumstances of her exit and said he’d been busy with a “whole bunch of other stuff.” That’s it? He had other “stuff” going on? Like … what exactly? Meeting with the national champion Duke basketball team? A photo op with former President Clinton and the U.S. soccer team? Is it possible for someone to be simultaneously engaged and detached? Obama appears to be living proof.
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