June 18th, 2010
12:48 PM ET
12 years ago

White House keeps hitting Barton

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - The White House on Friday continued its assault on controversial comments made by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

At a hearing on Capital Hill Thursday, Barton apologized to BP executives and said that the White House was trying to "shakedown" the company for a $20 billion fund to help with the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill. Barton later issued an apology for the statement.

During a gaggle aboard Air Force One Friday, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said he "saw the tourtured construction" of Barton's apology for his initial statement, calling it "an example of what some folks in the Republican party truly believe."

Burton then warned of the consequences of a Republican controlled Congress, pointing out that Barton would be chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"This is something people should be considering" during the upcoming midterm elections, he said.

Filed under: BP • Joe Barton • Obama administration
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. PalmReader

    "This is something people should be considering" during the upcoming midterm elections, he said.

    Unfortunately, those now suffering the most are also those who chanted Drill, Baby, Drill during Silicon Sarah's speeches the loudest.

    Perhaps Jindal, Barbour and others will convince these same voters that accepting funds from Obama's *shakedown* is counter productive to their long held ideological belief of less government.

    Let's be realistic, shall we? The GOP could care less that the oil spill is affecting those most vunerable. Barton said what MOST republicans think. The pundits on the right are continuing their debate on the legality of the 20 Billion Escrow. After Katrina, La. voters did manage quite nicely to put their anger aside and vote for Jindal – a republican.

    I doubt, though, that the majority of American's will be quite so forgiving to the GOP this time around.

    June 18, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. SocialismBad

    Yes, all businesses (private employers) MUST BE DEMONIZED according to the Obozo administration. In this case, they are doing it to hide THEIR OWN MISMANAGEMENT AND INCOMPETENCE.

    Demonize, takeover, shakedown private businesses is the offical policy of the Obozo administration. And then they wonder why unemployment IS GOING UP?!

    This Obozo Band of Buffoons is the most disastrous thing to happen to this country in its history.

    June 18, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. MB Seattle

    Whats all the fuss about Joe Barton. The guy had to earn the money the oil companies have been giving him for years. He expressed his point of view that the interest of the oil companies are fundamentally more important than the voters of the Gulf Coast states who are being impacted by oil spill.

    Joe has a heavy responsibility of being the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Joe knows he is in line for the chairman's position and he just wanted to reaffirm his commitment to BP and the other oil interests that if he has anything to do with it it will be business as usual.

    Give the guy a break. Joe is working hard to shape the Energy Policy for the country and the oil industry and is under a lot of pressure to perform for his Party and the oil companies.

    Thanks Joe for your insight.

    June 18, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Beauty

    As the man thinks, so he is. Imagine Rep, Barton being in charge of overseeing BP functions!
    Ha! The whole gulf will be engulfed with oil and he will be laughing straight to the bank.
    God help us.

    June 18, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. katiec

    I hope they point out Barton's unAmerican behavior from now to Nov. What is being kept so silent, due to the uproar from the American people, is that a good number of the republicans feel the same way.
    Their undying love and support for Wall St has been so obvious by their undesirable, irresponsible actions and tactics.
    We cannot let these hypocrits, liars, a party that puts goals of destroy our president, win at any cost, party first over the survival of us and our country ever get control of again.

    June 18, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Marcel, SATEX

    If the GOP took control of congress again, the corporations, banks, oil companies and consumer predators would be back in control of our government.

    June 18, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Ex-Republican since McCain picked Palin

    Good, now keep hitting (for their non-truths and twisted facts) Sarah Palin, Glen "boohoo" Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, and all the others who are dedicated to put down President Obama and stir up hate in America.

    June 18, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. marty

    Rep. Joe Barton should definitely be shouted out for his mini epistle re: BP. First there was the "you lie" incident, followed by the "baby killer" incident, and now the lengthy apology from Barton peppered with trigger words such as 'shakedown' and 'slush fund'. Kind of reminds one of the brown- noser in school who would play up to the teacher for better grades....pitiful. The J. Boehners and the E. Cantors immediately pressed Barton to retract his comments hoping the storm will pass and all will be forgotten. This lack of decorum and anti-government silliness should be scrutinized and continuously brought to the public's attention. Perhaps only then can we put to rest the stupidity and calumny that seems to pervade our society today.

    June 18, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. bill


    June 18, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Texas Republicans are fighting like H... to protect BP and other big oil companies. Republicans have a responsibility to big oil because they get their lions share from lobbyist so what Barton said is the truth and no one should expect different results. Republicans are who they are and they will always protect big companies for profit that voters never see.

    June 18, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Reggie

    There is something wrong with you if you vote Republican thinking things will get better. It got bad under bush . . .perhaps worse under Obama. Republicans are all about protecting businesses and the wealthy. If they really cared about healthcare, why have never never initiated healthcare reform?

    If you want a change, fine. But you are not going to get the change you want by going Republican. You are just going to go back to business as usual.

    June 18, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. GG from Minnesota

    Rep. Barton's statement was badly worded but there is a good point to it. This administration has been shaking down companies and circumventing due process since day 1 for political reasons.

    For example the deal it forced on GM that awarded autoworker unions at the expense of bond holders – this was clearly a shakedown and the only thing making it legal was that the debt holders accepted it out of fear of what the administration would do if they didn't.
    Same thing with this escrow fund for BP. This is not the normal legal process for adjudicating and awarding damage claims but BP is accepting it out of fear of what the administration might do.

    As a people are we really OK with an executive branch that acts outside normal due process, setting itself up as judge, jury, and compensator? Can we really trust the Obama czar that administers the fund to make awards without regard to political considerations?
    These important issues seem to be getting lost in the rush to tar & feather Rep. Barton.

    June 18, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "an example of what some folks in the Republican party truly believe."

    I do not accept Barton's apology. Who in their right mind would? This buffoon felt emboldened( by his fellow cohorts' demeanor towards this administration and in particular, their lack of respect for this President) to actually make that type of statement. A statement that put our President (who acted in good faith on behalf of the devastated citizens in the Gulf) at the same level as a street thug. Yes. He said it, and what he said is representative of the "locker room" comments that he's heard from his brethren vis-a-vis their disdain, and lack of decorum when it comes to dealing with our Black President.

    There is NO EXCUSE, and NO REASON for President Obama to have been treated this way after succeeding in getting $20billion dollars worth of relief for suffering citizens. It was callous, malicious, calculated, and above all, Barton FELT IN HIS HEART OF HEARTS that just like Joe Wilson, he'd be allowed to get away with it. Such is our current political climate.

    Say what you will about all the things that were said about "W", he was NEVER disrespected this way. And, yes, I'll say it: the idiot deserved to be. He was my President too. What on God's earth is wrong with these Republicans? So much hatred. So much displaced rage. Look within yourselves and ask who put us in this pickle, and who is working to dig us out?

    To publicly castigate and chastise someone for doing good takes a special kind of idiot. No amount of apologizing will obliterate the peep I had into your soul Joe Barton.

    June 18, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Charles W. Skinner

    Nice to know the white house would rather do name calling and misrepresent what was said than deal with the truth that Pres. Obama DID shake down BP for $20 Billion. Just look at the damage it did to BP's stock price, destroying millions of dollars of American wealth in the process.

    If I could, I would re-elect Rep Barton, and propose that he be made Speaker of the House.

    June 18, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. mike

    this is just another republican that said what all republicans are saying
    but are to much of coward to say in public the democrats want to raise
    the cap of what oil companies are responsible for but the republicans
    block it when Obama got BP to agree to 20 billion for relief to the gulf
    victims and what happens the republicans said that BP was being bullied by Obama the republicans want to see any relief money being tied up in courts for years like EXXON with there oil spill in alaska so guess who is up set thats right the oil companies because they don't want to pay anything on spills so remember that when you are going to vote

    June 18, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. John , PA

    That’s what happens when you tell the truth, the Democratic Party and Obama administration attack you. This is just another speech in front of the hand picked few; this is the only group where you could get applause for this president that has no clue and is incompetent.

    The RNC should be calling for the teleprompter president to resign !

    Let’s review
    higher unemployment
    higher taxes
    higher home foreclosure rate
    tax evading Democratic Party
    tax evading Obama administration
    the “Porkulus” Spending bill
    out of control budget / no budget
    health care reform disaster
    3 terrorist attacks in the USA since Obama took office
    Oil spill disaster in the Gulf

    June 18, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. rosanne mahnke

    It is about time someone call out the politicians for not working together to fix the things that need fixing here in America. I am so tired of them playing politics instead of working to help all Americans. This is why we will not vote for any person in office come November unless they do work together to improve things. As Pickens said we are all being stupid. Lets forget politics and racism. Fix things or be gone, forget about who gives you the most money! Obama has been in this from the beginning trying to fix things. It is BP's mess to shut off and pay. Get the hole fixed then find out who did what wrong. I will not even watch tv news now.

    June 18, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    Come on, White House! Give him a right cross! Then sink him with an upper cut! Then go for the glass jaw!

    This guy should REALLY be removed from politics. You don't apologize to someone when they're the ones who have completely screwed up! They may very well have destroyed the ecology in the Gulf. They may have done so much damage to the business owners in the area that it could take several years to recover. They owe not only the American people but people in every country affected by their complete lack of caring about human and ecological life. These people should be apologizing to US. What the heck is wrong with Barton? Is he really this stupid or is he just a typical Republican?

    June 18, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Billy J.

    Barton is not a lone wolf. Unfortunately he represents millions of other people like him. Electoral democracy is very much a work in progress. Give me a parliamentary system any day where people must tolerate differences and learn to compromise for the common good instead of this two-party slug fest we have in the US.

    June 18, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Jeff from Chicago

    I do not believe we should be apologizing to BP, but this is politics at it's worse.

    If we're brutal to BP, maybe no one notices the total failure of this administration to address this problem.

    Once again, obama is making Bush look good.

    June 18, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |

    The GOP leaders where angry with Barton not because of what he said but because he said it. Mr. Barton revealed the true feelings of the GOP, hoe they talk among themselves or behind closed doors. They didn't want it to become public, that's what the GOP leadership is mad about, the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    June 18, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Ken

    How can anyone "misconstrue" the idea that the fact that BP has put up $20Billion is"a tragedy of first proportions"?

    How can anyone "misconstrue" the word "shakedown", used more than once?

    How can anyone "misconstrue" that fact that Barton apologized TWICE to Tony Hayward and BP??

    Those would be quite the "misconstrue..ctions"!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Tha's right...bend over, Joe-the-Apologizer, and take it like a man. We saw your loafers under Hayward's desk.

    BTW, I'd like to see one of these jackhole Republicans try the "I'm sorry if you misconstrued what I was saying/doing" line with their wives next time they get caught praticing their "family values"...see how long they keep their jubblies after pulling that one with anyone but their true-believing idiot base.

    June 18, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Felonious Monk

    This is something that should definitely be considered during the midterms.
    Does anyone, anyone actually support Barton's position of apology to bp for the oil spill/restoration?

    If so, let's hear your talking points!

    June 18, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. MissyW

    What an idiot!! Bye, bye Barton...

    June 18, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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