President Barack Obama said Monday evening that he wants to figure out "whose ass to kick" over the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The president showed a flash of anger over the spill after facing accusations from Republicans and some Democrats that he's seemed cool to the ecological crisis.

"[I] don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar — we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick," Obama said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show taped Monday evening in Michigan.

Obama's remarks come as even some liberal supporters — like New York Times columnists Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd — have questioned the temperature of the president's reaction toward BP.

"Look, I would love to vent. I would love to just shout and holler, because I'm thinking about this day in and day out," Obama explained. "But my main job is to solve the problem."

Republicans, meanwhile, have impugned the promptness of the federal response to the spill. Americans have also said the federal response is worse now than during 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans.

Obama defended himself from critics in speaking to NBC.

"I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf," he said. "A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be."

Updated at 7:10 a.m.