The U.S. President Barack Obama, along with his 9-year-old daughter Sasha, took a dip in the Gulf waters to assure that it is safe.
Since the busted oil well has been fixed and has stopped pouring more oil into the waters, Obama is resolute on restoring normalcy on the beaches.
Obama committed to restoration of the Gulf
Not only did he plunge into waters that had absorbed 200 million gallons of oil, the president also declared that he is not resting until the beaches are back in action again.
“Oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf,” said Obama, speaking at regional U.S. Coast Guard headquarters. “But I'm here to tell you that our job is not finished, and we are not going anywhere until it is."
The president is committed to the restitution of the site, and said that he “will not be satisfied until the environment has been restored, no matter how long it takes.”
Will the first family’s trip help the oil-affected site?
This is Obama’s fifth trip to the region since the April 20 BP explosion. The White House arranged for this excursion after receiving many complaints that the president, who has been asking the Americans to vacation in the Gulf, is not heeding his own advice.
So Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha and family dog Bo traveled to the Florida panhandle, in an attempt to reignite the tourism in the region, which is known for its white beaches and heavily depends on tourism.
The Obamas' other daughter, Malia, is at summer camp.
“Beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, they are safe, and they are open for business,” said the president.
The President said he brought his family to Florida to let "fellow Americans know that they should come on down here. It is spectacular."
According to a report in the Associated Press, the Obamas actually swam off Alligator Point, which is technically in Saint Andrew Bay, not the Gulf.
The first family spent much of the day at their beachfront hotel, venturing to Lime's Bayside Bar & Grill, where they relaxed on a deck overlooking the water.
Obama’s plunge in Gulf waters was kept private; only an official photo of the president and his daughter, swimming together, was released by the White House.
The family was to return to Washington Sunday evening.
Obama urges Americans to visit the region
Though only 16 of the 180 beaches in the Panhandle were affected by the BP spill, it has greatly damaged the tourism in the region.
The President said he brought hi family t o Florida to let "fellow Americans know that they should come on down here. It is spectacular. Not just to support the region. Come down here because it's a beautiful place to visit.”
Besides making an attempt to attract visitors to the site, Obama also acknowledged that the locals would be frustrated with the slow speed of the compensation claims from BP.
The president is trying to perk up the payment process. He said “any delays -- by BP or by those managing the new fund -- are unacceptable.”