Flagstaff, Arizona - Attention turned Wednesday to the giant "Mission Accomplished" sign that once again stood behind President G.W. Bush while in Arizona where he was celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
This is the same banner that made its first appearance on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln seven years ago almost to the day. The president told reporters the sign was put up by the U.S. Attorney Generals' office, not by his staff.
"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way," the former president said Wednesday.
The 125-ton, 40-foot-tall containment dome designed to capture 85 percent of the oil was successfully placed over the oil leak today.
Bush offered the explanation after being asked whether his speech declaring an end to the BP Oil Spill Disaster under the "Mission Accomplished" banner was premature, given that the oil leakage is expected to make landfall within the next three days. "People from Louisiana and Mississippi can return from their summer homes now and get back to a normal way of life." Bush said with a smile.
The speech and events surrounding it were widely publicized and served as the symbolic end to the most catastrophic oil disaster in the history of the United States .
It appeared that every detail of today's events had been carefully planned, including the president's arrival in a vintage 1984 Cadillac Eldorado with 24 carat gold plated 18-inch Daytons rims and a fire engine horn.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs repeatedly told CNN that the White House was neither involved in nor aware of these actions.
Assigning responsibility elsewhere, especially to the U.S. Attorney's office, is not a typical move for the Obama administration and has raised suspicions among many critics.
"The banner signified the successful implementation of the containment dome," Gibbs said, noting that BP is still racing to install better technological fixes.
At the time of the event, Democrats worried President Bush would use his speech and the dramatic entrance for political gain. Democratic presidential candidates, hoping to make it a political liability for the Republican party, accused Bush of trying to shift attention away from the BP oil spill disaster.
When asked how he was enjoying the holiday, Bush replied "I enjoy Cinco de Mayy-o. I like salsa, relish and alot of other Mexican sauces too. I use them all the time".