The White House has shown disdain for what officials call the "theatrics" the punditocracy is demanding of the president -- more emoting, more visits to the Gulf, fewer administration spokespeople.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told ABC News: "If the president thought that yelling at the top of his lungs would solve this crisis, he would stand on top of the White House and do that. But he believes this crisis will be solved by plugging the hole and responding to the damage done, not by method acting."
But the White House is not insensitive to these concerns. White House officials tell ABC News that the president will visit the Gulf coast again "soon," perhaps as soon as next week.
In addition, sources say that White House officials have discussed the possibility of delaying -- again -- the president's trip later this month to Indonesia and Australia, though no decision has been made on the matter.
And what of the myriad ceremonial events President Obama has hosted or participated in this month, ones Jon Stewart mocked him for earlier this week on The Daily Show?
Officials say they're sensitive to the awkward dynamic -- no leader wants to be seen as fiddling while Rome burns -- which is why President Obama, sometimes perhaps a bit clumsily, tries to invoke the oil spill at these events, as he did at the ceremony for Paul McCartney last night.
But even if there weren't an oil spill, officials say, the U.S. is fighting two wars and in the middle of an economic crisis. There's always something more important to be focused on instead of, say, Jewish American Heritage Month or a celebration of the Duke University Blue Devils men's basketball team. The unprecedented move would be to cancel all the ceremonial events, officials say.
-- Jake Tapper