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Obama plans tougher inspections for offshore drilling, source says

By Dan Lothian, CNN White House Correspondent
  • President plans to "tighten safety regulations" on offshore drilling, officials says
  • Official: He also will discuss other recommendations from the 30-day review he ordered
  • Aide says the White House is "planning for every scenario" as BP tries to stop the gusher

Washington (CNN) -- On Thursday, President Barack Obama will announce "strengthened inspections" and an effort to "tighten safety regulations" for offshore drilling, according to an administration official.

Obama also is expected to discuss other recommendations from the 30-day review that he ordered shortly after oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig collapsed April 22, the official said.

Despite criticism that the White House should take over the operation from BP, administration officials insist the oil giant is best equipped to plug the leak.

Responding to comments from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, that if BP fails in its current effort to stop the gusher, the president "better go in and completely take over," perhaps with the "military in charge," a senior administration official asked, "What precisely the military would do?"

An aide said they'll be watching as BP tries the "top kill" effort to stop the flow of oil, but he refused to predict if it will be successful. "We're planning for every scenario," the official said.

While the government's point man in the Gulf, Adm. Thad Allen, has expressed confidence in BP's ability to get the job done, there is growing frustration that more than one month after the platform explosion the crisis continues.

Two senior administration officials confirm that an exasperated Obama told aides, "Plug the damn hole."