Obama takes blame for massive oil spill

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama took responsibility for the U.S. response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Thursday and extended for six months a moratorium on offshore drilling, dealing a potential setback to his own energy policy.

Obama, who has come under increased pressure to show leadership over the spill, suspended planned exploration off the coast of Alaska, and canceled a pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and a proposed lease sale off Virginia.

Addressing reporters at the White House, a worn-looking Obama said even his daughter had asked him when the oil would stop leaking.

"In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility," he said, leaning over his podium.

"It is my job to make sure that every thing is done to shut this down," he said.

The president rejected criticism that he and the federal government had not taken charge as BP Plc struggles to stop the gushing deep-sea oil well.

"There shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged," he said.

"From the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort."

Offshore oil drilling is a key part of Obama’s efforts to rejig the country’s energy policy and a needed sweetener for gaining Republican support for a bill in the Senate.

But the spill has forced him and fellow Democrats to rethink their support for such an expansion, which many environmentalists oppose.

"Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky," Obama said. "That’s part of the reason you never heard me say, ‘drill, baby, drill,’ because we can’t drill our way out of the problem."

The Obama administration ordered a halt in new drilling permits after BP’s oil rig, owned by Transocean, exploded in the Gulf on April 20.

Some U.S. lawmakers have called on the administration to liRNA FUN

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