WASHINGTON — A White House spokesman mocked BP's chief executive Monday for attending a luxury yacht race despite the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but then defended President Barack Obama's own weekend golf game.
Tony Hayward, the British energy giant's embattled chief, drew fire from the White House over the weekend for having gone to the yacht race Saturday off the Isle of Wight.
White House spokesman Bill Burton took him to task again on Monday, suggesting that Hayward take part in the cleanup operations in the Gulf of Mexico with the 300,000 euro yacht he co-owns.
"You know, look, if Tony Hayward wants to put a skimmer on that yacht and bring it down to the Gulf, we'd be happy to have his help," Burton said to laughter in the White House briefing room.
"But what's important isn't what Tony Hayward's doing in his free time; it's what BP is doing to take... responsibility for the mess that they've made," he said.
His comments echoed those of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who called Hawyard's decision to go to the yacht race "part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes."
But when asked about Obama's day Saturday, in particular his four hour golf game at a course near Washington, Burton said the president had the right to decompress a bit after a hard week.
"I don't think that there's a person in this country that doesn't think that their president ought to have a little time to clear his mind," Burton said.
"I think that a little time to himself on Father's Day weekend probably does us all good as American citizens," he said.
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