Obama, meanwhile, has been under mounting criticism — even from members of his own Democratic Party — for seeming aloof to what could be the biggest environmental tragedy in U.S. history.
Asked about inevitable comparisons between his administration's handling of the disaster with his predecessor's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which flooded New Orleans and other areas, Obama said: "I'll leave it to you guys to make those comparisons. ... What I'm thinking about is how do you solve the problem?"
Comparisons to former President George W. Bush's paltry response to the devastating storm have come mainly from opposition Republicans.
"I'm confident people are going to look back and say this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis," he said. "We've got to get it right."
Obama is struggling for high ground in the political wars raging in the months before the November congressional elections, where his Democratic majorities in both House and Senate are in danger.
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