Opinion: Joe Biden update: He safely escapes Hurricane Alex


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After a day of braving distant waves and winds, Vice President Joe Biden is safe and sound after escaping from the Gulf coast area just in time as Hurricane Alex, formerly known as Tropical Storm Alex, bears down on Texas and Mexico.

Biden spent all of Tuesday sort of near the path of the possibly killer but-no-one-really-knows storm to demonstrate the Democratic Obama administration’s continuing commitment to continuing to visit the continuing oil spill.


More than two months after the deadly explosion and fire on an offshore BP oil rig, some 60,000 barrels a day continue to escape subterranean confinement a mile beneath the gulf surface, despite a continuing series of White House meetings, daily briefings, phone calls and a continuing flow of news releases.

President Obama has already visited the area four times for briefings, photo ops and to examine the sand. So Biden has some serious visit-catching-up to do.

Tuesday the man, who was senator when Obama was just in sixth grade, visited New Orleans and was photographed with residents who have suffered damages from the spill.

‘That $20-billion fund, that’s not a ceiling,’ Biden told the cameras. ‘BP is required to pay whatever it is [that] falls under their responsibility, whether it ends up being $25, $30, $40 or $50 billion.’ Biden is also trying to make sense of conflicting federal regulations that permit some commercial fishing but not the sale of the catches.

Oil recovery operations were suspended due to high wind and wave conditions caused, not by Biden’s visit but by the passing storm. According to the White House, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James Watson, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao were on hand to watch Biden talk about the spill, which continued anyway.

Later, Biden visited the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. and then on to a very nice dinner near Tampa in the home of Gen. David Petraeus, who Obama named the new troop commander last week in Afghanistan after a different kind of leak.

Concern for Biden’s schedule mounted throughout the day because Wednesday his entire public workload involves flying to Ohio for a Cleveland fundraiser to help Democrat candidate Lee Fisher. He’s in a continuing tight race with the GOP’s former Rep. Rob Portman for the Senate seat being vacated by George Voinivich.

Obama will also flee Washington on Wednesday for a visit to Racine, Wis., of all places.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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