BP's stock rises. How about Obama's?

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A month ago, when BP ascended to the top of the list of corporate villains, the company’s stock took a thrashing. But now the panic selling seems to have gone into reverse: BP’s stock rose today, even as lawmakers in Washington intensified their criticism, other oil companies claimed they would have done a better at handling the spill, and BP said it was speeding up payment of large commercial losses due to the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

So, is this just a temporary lull in BP’s stock market storm? Or will our addiction to the black stuff keep oil companies afloat, no matter how bad the environmental disaster? And how will Obama’s stock fare?

With the President set to address the American people from the Oval Office tonight, the first time since he was elected and nearly two months after the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, tonight is being framed as a defining moment that could determine Obama’s relevancy.

The “Drill, baby, drill!” crowd would love it if this disaster brought Obama down, and his poll numbers have definitely  taken a beating in recent weeks. My money is on Obama to make a kickass speech tonight—and kick B.P. CEO Tony Hayward’s ass when they meet Wednesday, a day before Hayward testifies before Congress. How it goes after that will depend on the follow through, and that’s where Obama has an opportunity that he better not blow.