June 18th, 2010
03:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Republican says Barton apology not good enough

Rep. Joe Bonner on Friday called on fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton to step down as ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Rep. Joe Bonner on Friday called on fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton to step down as ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

(CNN) - Rep. Jo Bonner called on fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton to step down as ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Friday following the Texas Republican's controversial statements to BP chairman Tony Hayward on Thursday.

"Earlier this morning, Rep. Barton called me to offer his personal apologies for any harm that his comments might have caused," said Bonner, whose district covers much of Alabama's coastline.

"It takes a big person to admit they were wrong and I appreciated Joe's call," Bonner continued. "However, as I told him, I believe the damage of his comments are beyond repair and, as such, I am today calling on Joe to do the right thing for our conference and immediately step aside as Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee."

"Joe's comments were stupid and extremely insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of people who live along the Gulf Coast," Bonner added.

Filed under: BP • Energy • Joe Barton • Popular Posts
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Wishing

    I really wish he would step down too. It was the most ridiculous thing I heard all day.

    June 18, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Tom from Texas

    Tool of the oil companies. He should spell his name (Bought)en instead of Barton. I wish that I could tell you that not all Texas republicans in congress are like him, but ..... What a jerk.

    June 18, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Eli Dizon

    Barton should be castigated for his apology, he definitely gave a terrible apology. What he should have said is:
    'I apologize for not being clear. I should have said that the President used his power and position in an improper and potentially illegal manner in pressuring BP to establish an escrow account, to do what they are already doing, for the political purposes of the current WH administration. The President chose the political path rather than the high road. BP chose to knuckle under due to the current political climate. It would be helpful if the President were instead focusing on the real issues, instead of political capital. While the President plays golf and parties, the Coast Guard sidelined boats skimming oil from the coastal waters, the EPA delayed accepting help from the Dutch, and Napolitano is nowhere to be found. I realized that saying I was embarrassed by the Presidents ignorance of the rule of corporate law and capitalism is unpopular with the mainstream media and ostriches, but I did not know so many RINOs were in my party. I therefore for not making myself clear. We want help as quickly as possible for those affected by the oil spill. Adding another layer of bureaucracy to the process likely will slow the help, while helping the political agenda of the current administration.'

    June 18, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. luqui

    HELLO REP. BARTON, how much money did you get from the oil companies? are you a tea party supporter too? be a man and tell the truth. I have a great idea for you, why don't you go to the gulf and have a meeting with all the people affected by this?

    June 18, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. JOHN U

    Barton should quit Congress and get a job as BP chief spokesman/apologist or assistant to phony energy 'expert' sarah Palin on FOX

    June 18, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Kate in San Diego

    He won't quit and they won't make him. The republicans used him as a sacrificial lamb because in their heart of hearts they agree with him. I wouldn't be surprized if this had been planned all along.

    June 18, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Chris, MN

    I don't think Barton should have apologized for his apology. He's upset because the fund was saying we don't trust you and you are guilty until proven innocent. BP was upstanding for agreeing to it. Barton was not saying reparations to those affected shouldn't be prompt. Lawyers and such are already "planting flu like symptoms" in lieu of their piece of the pie

    I watched most of the questioning and I can not believe how most news agencies are reporting it. One anchor on CNBC did say what I had seen and that was the arrogance of Congress to "badger a witness" so to speak. CNBC didn't say "badger a witness", those were my words. Congress for the most part looked like idiots. They would ask a question and then interrupt the answer because it wasn't the answer they wanted.

    His responses for the most part were that he would not fire someone for the sake of firing someone. He stated,"there is an on going investigation", "if it shows that costs were a consideration over safety, actions will be taken." He stated, there were 7 areas of concern. He handled himself very well. I would have been as crass and brazen as Congress and I would have made them look like fools for asking the same question expecting a different answer.

    If I would have been him, when he was questioned as to the name of the person responsible for the decision making process, I would have said, have you ever had a house built to your specifications. If the answer was yes I would then ask, can you tell me the name of the contractor, plumber, electrician that worked on the house. Also, if there were an on going criminal investigation, if I new the name I would not send a slew of media (lynch mob so to speak) to his/her doorstep so they could condemn the accused in front of the world without due process.

    BP has taken responsibility from the beginning, promised to make things right and I don't think anyone would cheer this accident. I believe we should cover are rears and the agreed upon fund was a measure of good faith and BP again should be applauded for their part. I believe without a doubt that people who would vilify "big oil" and see a "crisis" to exploit, are cheering the "lynching".

    Using the comments of your competition as evidence that they have better practices is ridiculous as well.

    I'll give you a parting thought...there was an earthquake off of the shore of Haiti. If I remember correctly it took place about 5 miles deep. What if that earthquake caused a new and completely unforeseen issue regarding deep water drilling? Can you hold BP/ Bush responsible?
    Will the discussion end promptly by saying I'm a lover of "big oil" or will I be called racist for using the word "lynch"

    OK one more thought...hundreds of violations and millions of dollars in fines does not bode well, but without complete knowledge of the circumstances surrounding those issues (on going investigation), although a possible precedent, they should be treated separately at the present.
    Rereading my rant, I guess I am biased toward innocent until proven guilty!

    June 18, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |

    Barton should lose his committee seat, anyone who's that stupid shouldn't have a job anywhere. Only Texas could elect this idiot and Tom Delay, and GW Bush need I go on.

    June 18, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Robert

    I do not think the reference to "shakedown" was inappropriate at all. I believe BP board agreement to be contrary to their fiduciary duty to their shareholders and should be subject to shareholder vote where it likely would be unsupported. Certainly will be challenged in court as a clase action and following probably result in a significan shareholder revolt if implemented. The agreement MAY have had standing even though it exceeds any basis for claims if it included release from any subsequent suit but the President could not realistically commit to such a thing since executive powers do not yet extend to the courts..

    June 18, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Ben in Texas

    Yeah, Joe Barton, you let the cat out of the bag (as if there were any doubt that the Repugnant Party was the party of Big Oil), so you have to pay the price. You'll never have to worry, though, since your generous House retirement plan and lots of oil money await you when you've done your duty to your corporate masters.

    It's kind of embarrassing to look such a fool, though. Don't you think so? But such a small price to pay for the luxury you will enjoy for the rest of your life for selling out to the destroyers of the middle class.

    June 18, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. jeff

    It looked more like he was kissing BP's butt. Being how he has had more than enough financial "Contributions" from oil companies.

    June 18, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |

    I disagree. Joe Bonner just lost my vote. I think it is shameful how these politicians are behaving, like they are experts in the field. I think they need to quit wasting time placing blame and come together with the cleanup! It is disaster as far as management goes both on the Federal government and BP sides. TOO MUCH RED TAPE. Let the States and local goverments do there thing and just make BP pay for it.

    June 18, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. CR

    Definitely not good enough. The nation does not need an oil industry shill in a senior congressional position. Unacceptable. Barton needs to go.

    June 18, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Syphon Filter

    Don't insult our intelligence. This is all show. Rep Jo Bonner is trying to save his own skin from this fiasco. Nothing more and nothing less. Look at the facts and the history of the oil industry and how cozy it has been with the Republican party. It has been 30 years and counting for Alaskans to get paid for the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Did Ms. Bendy straw get any money for her Alaskan constituents who suffered and continue to suffer from that oil spill. No. She decided to quit as governor for greener pastures. What a joke!!! Jo Bonner, you need to stop the terrible acting. Because the only thing you and your Republican friends do well is you obstruct our government into helping the American People. Morons.

    June 18, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Darko

    Speak for yourself. I live on the gulf coast and while his words were over the top, I understood his point and he is 100% correct. What Obama did was a shake down in no uncertain terms. He has absolutely no authority to threaten BP in that manner. That's what the judicial system is for.

    BP will pay, but who is Obama to decide on how they use their assets to fund the payments? I'd think it's in everyone's best interest that we don't Bankrupt BP. Loss of jobs and their ability to fund the cleanup would only make things worse.

    That charade in congress yesterday wasn't any better. Do you really think you're going to get detailed answers from the CEO? Try the COO or heck anyone in the operations division. The CEO is a nothing but a suit. Even better, get those MMS regulators on the hot seat. Wait, that would make Obama look bad...can't have that now can we.

    June 18, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If Barton quits, the Gulf is still left with 200+ Republicans who also support big oil, look at Texas. The Republican politicians here in Texas profit from big oil and could care less about Louisiana's problems as long as BP has a corporate headquarters in Texas to support their selfish gains. When Bush/Cheney took office they were and still are part of big oil profits and it would be foolish to doubt they are controlling what Republicans say in support of BP.

    June 18, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. jeff davis

    unbelievable how much in the tank for the oil companies this guy barton is. nothing even subtle about it. and people in his district elect this bozo?

    June 18, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. sammieb51

    An eye-opener for anyone thinking McCain/Palin or (God forbid) Bush would be dealing with BP better .... Obama was able to get the $20BILLION, pre-litigation, escrowed which is a good beginning and actually, how much more than Exxon Valdez got POST-litigation?

    June 18, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. barbara

    the "crime" doesnt fit the punishment that the repugs are so fast to insist upon. they do this simply to show the dems and everyone else that they really really will nt put up with this sort of thing (no matter how true it is). fact is the dems are laughing at these stupid pugs becase they know its overkill. they keep their members and it doesnt matter how crooked they are and what nonsence they spew.

    June 18, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Doraine Gordon

    Don't even waste your time asking Joe Barton to step down from anything. He is another old hard nose Republican from Texas who needs to be voted out of office. I get so tired of the Representatives making their nasty remarks and then thinking it's ok if they apologize. It isn't ok and they shouldn't say these nasty things in the frst place. Some of these people in Washington think they can walk on water. Well, Joe, get on dry ground an walk yourself back to Texas. If they will have you!!!!

    June 18, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. bsheresq

    Has he apologized to the President for accusing him for conducting a shake down when the administration was acting to protect the best interestedsof the American citizens who were directly affected by BP's man-made disaster? Doubt it. BTW, Rep. Barton, you need not be sorry that you're words were "misconstrued" – perhaps you need a dictionary because both of your apologies to BP and the related assinine comments were not "misconstrued", they were understood for what they really are – evidence that your true sympathies lie with your Big Oil donors rather than with the American people. Duly noted.

    June 18, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Dale

    He's really only showing the true colors of many conservatives. They talk about freedom, but they really mean freedom to make money no matter what the consequences. Saying your sorry will not change that.

    June 18, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. James Fryday

    This was not an emotional response, but the opinion of the person who said the words in an apologetic manner. He should step down or be voted out at next election. If I was a Democrat or Republican I would refuse to sit on the committee as this is reflective on the committee as a whole. The apology is meaningless because of the circunstances surrounding what was said and in what manner.

    June 18, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Jon

    People should realize in November that if you vote for Republicans and, against all common sense, they gain a majority in the House, Joe Barton will have a huge amount of authority over this country's energy policy. Considering he's obviously so deep into the pockets of big oil companies like BP, that's a truly scary thought for any American.

    June 18, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Dave

    Barton is far from the only Republican to have expressed sympathy to BP; Haley Barbour and Marsha Blackburn said similar things, for example. The GOP is owned by big oil and will do anything for the money they get from the corporations, and they govern for the benefit of those corporations, not the American people. Barton said what a lot of them are thinking, but they saw the reaction he got and now they're making a sacrificial lamb of him to try to make it look like they're on the side of the American people and not big business. Too little too late, Bohner... you're trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, We already knew what kind of party you were... Barton just ran a highlighter over the writing on the wall. This country doesn't trust you anymore... because you don't deserve our trust.

    June 18, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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