Tales from the Trail

You won’t believe this – Dems cash in on Republican BP apology

June 18, 2010

Congressional Democrats are quickly trying to cash in on Joe Barton, the Republican lawmaker with ties to the oil industry who apologized to BP on national TV.

bartonJust hours after Barton’s remarks on Thursday, the House and Senate Democratic campaign committees issued fund-raising appeals featuring and ridiculing the white-haired Texan. 

“You won’t believe this,” begins the letter from the House Democratic campaign committee. “Yes, Texas Congressman Joe Barton actually apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward.”

The Senate Democratic campaign committee characterized Barton in its letter as a defender of “big polluters.”

Nathan Gonzales of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report said, “Joe Barton is not a high-profile guy. But Democrats aim to make him one.”

“BP is perhaps the most despised entity in the United States right now, and Democrats are going to do what they can to tie Barton and other Republicans to them,” Gonzales said.

“We will see how it resonates,” Gonzales said.

Barton apologized to BP at a nationally broadcast hearing on Capitol Hill. He said the corporate giant responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history was the target of a White House “shakedown” by having to set up a $20 billion fund for victims.

Barton, a major recipient of oil and gas industry campaign contributions, quickly drew fire from Democrats as well as Republicans.

He later retracted his apology under pressure from Republican leaders.

Democrats, in their fund-raising appeal, alluded to the fact that Barton is in line to become Energy Committee chairman. That is if Republicans win control of the House in the November election.

Photo Credit:  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (U.S. Representative Joe Barton at Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on oil spill in Gulf of Mexico)

Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The Republicans ALSO are helping to make Barton a high profile guy. He certainly
sounds like he is a defender of ‘big polluters” and is in line to become Energy Committee Chairman if the Repubicans win in Nov. These are facts and at least are
not twisted ideas of the opposition. With Republicans acknowledging this, how can
anybody blame the Democrats for doing what the RepublIcans do all the time – - RUN WITH IT!!

Posted by liberated | Report as abusive
 

As a citizen of Texas, I constantly see Barton siding with the big polluters in this state – - yet there are fools that keep voting for him. He is a disgrace to the good people of Texas and needs to resign and go to work full time as a Lobbyist. Why should we the tax payers have to subsidize his work as an unofficial Lobbyist?

Posted by Robert76 | Report as abusive
 

Joe Barton (GOBP) has done a fair amount of apologizing lately. It started with a public apology to BP, which was soon followed by an apology for the apology. Then he began apologizing to Gulf Coast Republicans, and apologized to the rest of his party for all the trouble he caused.

And then he posts a link on his Twitter page to an American Spectator article titled, “Joe Barton was right.” The article by Peter Hannaford is a robust defense of what Barton said, knocking the Obama administration for “Alinsky” tactics and hatred of business.

When a lawmaker is sincerely sorry about an ostensible mistake, and believes he was wrong, he doesn’t turn around hours later to boast publicly that he was right. It’s the kind of move that suggests his apology was made for the sake of political expedience.

Barton’s office scrambled to remove the tweet but it has, of course, been captured with screen-grabs and posted all over the internet. The American Spectator piece has been scrubbed. Barton probably realizes he’s screwed up again.

Remember, this guy is the leading House Republican on matters related to energy and climate policy. Seriously. The American people now have an easy choice to make in November.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/