Former Florida Senator Graham to serve on Gulf Coast oil spill panel: A lesson in crisis PR

Former Fla. Sen. Bob Graham to head presidential oil spill panel
Former Fla. Sen. Bob Graham to head presidential oil spill panel

The Orlando Sentinel reported in its Sunday edition that President Obama has selected former Senator Bob Graham to lead a bi-partisan panel looking into the devastating oil spill. The spill threatens an untold number of industries including the Gulf of Mexico seafood and tourism.

The administration and oil giant BP have come under fire for their handling of the crisis.  Graham was gracious in accepting the assignment. He gave a subtle lesson in media relations and crisis communications when talking to reporters over the weekend. He addressed questions frankly and honestly without casting aspersions.

Graham told the Orlando Sentinel:  “I have been following it all, but I’m reticent to talk about any personal assessment because we are going to get to know a lot more over the next few months; I don’t want to pre-judge our conclusions.’’

The senator’s quote is well done. In one sentence Graham said he was educating himself, not going to get personal, open to solutions and will say more when the facts are in. Too bad not everyone involved is this crisis is as thoughtful with their public statements as the retired Senator.