June 18th, 2010
03:31 PM ET
4 years ago

New DNC ad blasts Barton; GOP

The DNC will begin running a political commercial blasting Rep. Joe Barton for apologizing to BP.
The DNC will begin running a political commercial blasting Rep. Joe Barton for apologizing to BP.

Washington (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is taking their campaign against Texas Rep. Joe Barton to cable TV.

A top DNC official said the committee will begin running a political commercial as early as this weekend on national cable television that says "Republicans apologizing to BP? Tell Republicans: Stop apologizing to big oil."

The senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee ignited a political firestorm Thursday, during questioning of BP chief Tony Hayward, when he called BP's agreement to set up a $20 billion fund for spill victims "a shakedown" by the Obama administration. And Barton apologized to BP.

Barton's remark drew immediate criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans. Barton later retracted his apology to BP and said he was sorry for using the term shakedown.

Read the script after the jump:

In an email Friday morning to supporters, the DNC asked for donations to begin running a television commercial ad targeting Barton's remarks.

"We're whipping together an ad as fast as possible to make sure voters know exactly whose side Barton and the GOP are on and to demand they stop apologizing to big oil, but we need your help to get it on the air," DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in the email. "If you're as furious as I am, will you chip in $5 to help us fight back?"

A Democratic source said that how long the ad will run depends on how much money is collected from this new fundraising effort.

The DNC said the campaign is not just directed at Barton, but at the GOP in general.

And it points out that the Republican Study Committee used similar language the day before Barton's controversial comments.

"Barton's comments highlighted a Republican culture of apologizing for the oil industry that was evident in their belief that holding BP accountable is 'shakedown,'" said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.

The Republican National Committee immediately fired back at the DNC upon learning about the ad.

"For 58 days, as Barack Obama hung out with celebrities, played golf and shot hoops, the Democrats planned to politicize this tragedy – as evidenced by political appeals from OFA, the DNC and this latest ad," said RNC Communications Director Doug Heye. "But let's be clear, we agree with Democrats like James Carville, Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Bill Nelson that the Obama Administration was asleep at the switch, and have one priority – capping the leak."

Narrator: "BP caused the worst oil spill in American history. Now, at President Obama's direction, BP's set aside 20 billion for recovery on the Gulf coast. But if Republicans were in charge, this is the guy who'd be overseeing BP
Barton: "...I apologize"
Narrator: He apologized to BP and called the recovery fund a "tragedy"
Barton: "So I apologize"
Narrator: Republicans apologizing to BP? Tell Republicans: Stop apologizing to big oil. The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising

-Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: DNC • Joe Barton
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Coherent1

    Boy my fellow Dems didn't wait a single moment on this one. GOOD!

    June 18, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. CTYank

    Joe just doesn't get it, and may never get it, that the gulf and the people are not subservient to BP. Boehner at least seems to understand that you've got to camouflage that.

    June 18, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    spoken like a tdrue repub!!!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Mary Lou

    He owes the President a personal apology also.

    Funny how he thought he would make political hay out of bad mouthing the President, Even his own caucus is embarrassed. And when the Repukes are embarrassed, you know it's serious because up till now, nothing seemed to embarrass them.

    June 18, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. John Bogue

    So sad to see our fellow American's at each others throats...
    everything about the oil spill is devastating...
    Bartons comment was retracted...accept it
    we all say things we have retracted
    BP did make some bad calls
    the government is trying to make them be responsible...that's a good thing
    seems like about 2 years ago, the banks and insurance companies made some very bad decisions that cost America billions and the government stepped in and gave them billions to fix their mistake instead of making them responsible....Go Figure??????

    June 18, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Ben in Texas

    The Dems will get a lot of mileage out of this Barton debacle, and well they should. Not that the Dems aren't also beholden to Big Oil and the rest of the corporate world. It's just that Barton was so stupid to lay it out there and say, in effect, "I'm a shill for Big Oil, and I don't care what happens to the middle class as long as I get mine."

    What happened, Joe? Sure, you can kiss their a$$es in private, but when you're on the floor of the House, you're on stage, and you must act accordingly. Did you forget where you were? And that appalling apology, Joe! Do you think anybody will buy that "misconstrue" argument?

    June 18, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Bob in PA

    No, it is a shake down. Everyone in the Congress knows it too.
    BP is entitled to due process under the law to determine their legal liability. Putting up the money in advance is a PR campaign for them. But being strong armed by the BO in chief is extortion.

    June 18, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Rosslaw

    Barton is a gift from God to the Democratic party-they couldn't pay someone to be a hopelessly obtuse as Barton in disclosing to the world who Barton and his ilk consider to be their true constituency. Add to Barton Michell Backmann's accusation that President Obama is "fleecing" poor BP and Rand Paul's sympathizing with BP being put upon by those mean 'ol Democrats and you get an idea the Tea Party's financing could use a good lookover to determine whose interests these empty minds front for.

    June 18, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Don

    This shows ALL politicians are bought by Big Oil!!!! VOTE them ALL out NOW!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Pete in Guilford

    I just donated! Barton only said what the rest of the GOP was thinking, but wasn't quite stupid enough to say out loud.

    June 18, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    These republicats have no ideas and no brains. They call the President everything except the "n" word and will use any talking point no matter how ridiculous to defame him. Well, I would call what this barton clown did in front of the world TREASON. Is he an American or not? No American, even a congressman, has the right to talk like that in front of the whole world belittleing our country as he did.

    June 18, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Barton really thought that "socialist" remark was going to fly, HAHAHAHA

    This isn't the cold war you moron, that socialism/communism talking point just doesn't have the same impact 20 years after Reagan milked it for all it was worth, but this goes to show that Republican party has had no new (good) ideas since 1965, the heyday of the cold war.

    Just stuck in the past, only thing they can say is

    NO NO NO NO NO

    Well NO to you too

    June 18, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. dale

    Go ahead blast. EPA was ultimately responsible but the libs will never admit this. Shouldn't be in 5k ft of water.

    June 18, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. pierce

    Democrats are idiots.

    If they are smart they will want Barton to remain a powerful committeeman.
    And when the elections roll around, tell the public something along these lines:

    This man represents the GOP. Vote for the GOP and you will get apology after apology to BP for being inconvenienced by that little ol' oil spill.

    Barton is the greatest thing to happen to the Democrats, so don't spoil it, Democratic Party.

    June 18, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    Don't stop with barton. bachman said that BP was being fleeced. the imbecile from AK asking the President to call her (you know what she can do with that Dutch finger of hers!) There are others.
    What's worse is that after stating their retarded remarks against the US and our Gulf Coast they try to retract their actions and comments. YOU CAN'T!!!
    When you say something as dumb and uninformed as you do it's stays out there in media land. You can't take stupid back no matter how hard you try.

    June 18, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    Left to the devices of the Republicans, especially those being controlled by the Tea Party, the United States would be a country with the worst environment and the most poorly educated citizens. Resulting in diminished earning capacity and dangerously hostile global relationships.
    We need to think about who we elect and re-lect come November.

    June 18, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Jon

    "For 58 days, as Barack Obama hung out with celebrities, played golf and shot hoops, the Democrats planned to politicize this tragedy – as evidenced by political appeals from OFA, the DNC and this latest ad," said RNC Communications Director Doug Heye. "But let's be clear, we agree with Democrats like James Carville, Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Bill Nelson that the Obama Administration was asleep at the switch, and have one priority – capping the leak."

    Well, 60 days now or very soon to reach 100 days or may be as long as Obama remains still in the Oval Office. That damn well will not capped or plugged by Obama and BP, that is for sure. YES, WE CAN AND THIS IS WORSE THAN OBAMA'S KATRINA! A very impotent administration in our history!

    June 18, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Ben

    Barton was right. BP should be treated by the rule of law. They would have paid and paid deeply, surely at least as much as $20 billion. But it would have been done through established legal systems instead of a thuggish shakedown. I'm not defending big business, just the rule of law.

    It's really sad how much Democrats defend Obama when he breaks the law, like when he stole GM and Chrysler from their owners and gave them to his buddies in the UAW. Don't cross this administration, laws don't restrain them because they have contempt for the law.

    To you left-wingers... Again, not defending big business, just the rule of law. I wonder how many of you can comprehend that?

    June 18, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Randy

    The number one reason why you'd better think before voting.

    June 18, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Brandon

    Maybe the GOP should APOLOGIZE to the American public, for want the destruction of our economy and house market so they can get back in power.

    June 18, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. REG in AZ

    So many posts reflect an emotionalized, irrational, polarized public that simply fails to contemplate reality and instead is simply led by appeals to their biases, prejudices and emotional attachments (are being manipulated). I don't think any rationally contemplative person wants either increased taxes and growing government spending .. or .. the continuation of the current drastic problems and a return to the mentality that greatly contributed to the creation of those problems. The question is "can we have all of that or are they mutually exclusive positions?" I think the honest reality is that to solve the problems there are simply necessary real costs and to reject those costs is to then allow the problems to continue and even worsen. So from that it can be seen that it is necessary to intelligently and objectively decide do we want the problems to go away or do we want to not have any costs? The responsible and realistic decision is to control both: resolve the problems with controlled costs! Actually the costs are going to be there either way and to infer that there is a way to have no costs is to be lying. Has anyone heard this rational approach offered by any politician or are they always just putting their interests and political ambitions above all else, above all responsibility while just fighting each other? Interesting!

    June 18, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. mtdHouston

    Barton is just being a Republican serving his masters. Seems like the DNC is picking on him.

    June 18, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. mark

    this was an obama bashing by the GOP that went wrong.

    June 18, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Nathaniel

    By setting aside the money NOW, it prevents the inevitable legal holdups that would prevent claimants from getting their damages in a timely manner. Following the rule of law is important. However, Obama Admin knew that solely following the course of law would put an entire generation out of business before they got paid back. Obama didn't break the law but rather negotiated an early payout to a fund that could independently dole out funds to those impacted by the oil disaster. BP could have refused but in doing so they could have been putting the nail in their own coffin here in the US. By agreeing to this, they may have prevented litigating until they really were bankrupt. BP was in a no win situation, and agreeing to set aside these funds was the best choice for their long-term survival. Obama knew it and made a brilliant move in getting this arranged. It isn't sexy but the alternative would be ugly for millions in the Gulf Cost. Bravo Mr. President... shame shame shame Mr. Barton. We need to keep you from being the Chairman of such an oversight committee.

    June 18, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Gil

    Republicans are idiots and this goes to show it! They are in the hip pocket of the big corporations and big oil. Burton is just one who is honest in the Party of No so that we can see how the rest are just liars and cheats. The Party of No must be stopped!

    June 18, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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