Obama says he would have fired BP CEO

BP's chief executive wouldn't have a job if President Barack Obama were in charge of the oil company, the president said Tuesday.

Obama said he had not spoken to BP CEO Tony Hayward directly, but added that he thought Hayward should probably be out of work in the aftermath of the massive oil spill triggered by an accident in a BP-leased pipeline and rig.

"He wouldn't be working for me after any of those statements," Obama said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show, referencing comments made by Hayward in which said he wanted his pre-spill life back.

Hayward apologized for the remarks, which were seen as dismissive to the families of the 11 rig workers who died after the massive explosion that set off the leak. But the BP CEO has also faced criticism for his company's overall handling of the crisis, as well as its corporate practices. Lawmakers have called on plans for the company to suspend its dividend to shareholders this summer, and have questioned an ad blitz the oil company has waged to fight back against an increasingly negative perception in the wake of the spill.

Obama emphasized that administration officials were constantly in touch with the chief executive and other top officials at BP. Obama reiterated that the company was acting at the direction of the U.S. government.

The company, the president said, would also be made to ensure that those adversely affected by the spill are properly compensated for losses.

"We are going to have to make sure that not only do they shut down the cap; we are not only going to have to make sure any deep well drilling process out there is in fact failsafe, and oil companies know what they’re doing; but we also have to make sure that every single person that has been affected by this is properly compensated and made whole," he said.

"Absolutely, they can afford it," the president added. "If I see BP nickel-and-diming people down there, they are going to have to answer to us."