By Anne E. Kornblut
Friday, June 11, 2010; A04
After defending for days President Obama's decision not to speak directly with BP chief executive Tony Hayward, the White House has now invited -- or rather summoned -- senior executives from the oil giant to Washington.
In a letter to Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP's board, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen requested the presence of "you and any appropriate officials" from the company at the White House on Wednesday. Allen is overseeing the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
He added that Obama would attend "a portion of this meeting."
It was not immediately clear whether the White House expected Hayward to attend Wednesday.
Obama has said there is no need to meet or talk with Hayward, adding that he would have fired the executive by now for underestimating the scope of the disaster and for complaining that he would like his life back.
The British government said Thursday that Washington should "remember the economic value BP brings to people in Britain and America." British Prime Minister David Cameron is scheduled to talk by phone with Obama this weekend.
BP's stock price rose 12 percent in U.S. trading Thursday, a day after it fell nearly 16 percent.