From NBC's Scott Foster
President Obama today tried to tamp down expectations about the temporary stoppage of the Gulf oil spill, cautioning Americans "not to get ahead of themselves."
He called the new temporary cap "good news," but added: "One of the problems with having this camera down there is that when the oil stops gushing, everybody feels like we're done -- and we're not."
In a Rose Garden media availability under an intense mid-July sun, the president explained that government scientists continue to analyze the oil well's integrity tests.
He said they're testing whether this new cap can shut the well without creating additional leaks under the sea floor.
And he said that while "all of us have taken hope in the image of clean water instead of oil spewing in the Gulf," it's important to "make sure that we're taking a prudent course of action, and not simply looking for a short term-solution."
But he also said Americans "should take some heart in the fact that we're making progress on this front." But the president explained that even if ongoing tests reveal a "shut-in" is impossible that this new cap will capture up to 80,000 barrels a day. "Nearly all" of the leaking oil until the well is killed, he said.
And when will it be permanently stopped? Mr. Obama said the relief well is "ahead of target," but didn't elaborate. BP has said those relief wells should be completed and linked the damaged well by mid-August.
He told reporters, "I know there were a lot of reports coming out in the media that seemed to indicate, 'Well, maybe this thing is done.' We won't be done until we actually know that we've killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place."
The president made his remarks before heading to Bar Harbor, Maine for a weekend vacation with wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha.