June 22nd, 2010
09:51 AM ET
13 years ago

DNC out with second 'Barton-BP' ad

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/22/art.howgopwouldgovernad.dnc.jpg caption ="The DNC on Tuesday released a second ad that highlights Rep. Joe Barton’s controversial apology to BP."]Washington (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee is putting out a second television commercial that highlights Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton's controversial apology to BP.

The new ad includes video of GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul of Kentucky, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, and Barton apparently sticking up for BP, saying the Administration should "stop demonizing BP," that holding the oil company accountable is "un-American" and that the escrow fund is "extortion" and a "shakedown."

Barton, 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 Republicans. Under pressure from House GOP leaders, Barton later retracted his apology to BP and said he was sorry for using the term shakedown.

In an e-mail Friday morning to supporters, the DNC asked for donations to begin running a television commercial ad targeting Barton's remarks. The DNC says those contributions led to the airing of a first commercial on national cable TV, which said "Republicans apologizing to BP? Tell Republicans: Stop apologizing to big oil."

The DNC says the new ad, titled "How Republicans Would Govern," will also run on national cable. Democratic officials say the message of the ad is that the Barton apology to BP was not a gaffe or isolated incident but rather the Republican approach and an indication of how the GOP would govern if it wins back control of Congress in November's midterm elections.

"Apologizing to big oil? This is how Republicans would govern," says the announcer in the ad.

A Democratic source says the decision to move forward with a new commercial came "after the tremendous response the party received from grass roots, low dollar donors and Democratic Party activists who see this as a golden opportunity to define the choice voters are facing this fall."

But a top Republican Party official disagrees with the Democrat's strategy.

"Since Democrats can't talk about job creation and can't talk about President Obama's failure for weeks to meet with BP officials, they are desperate to talk about anything else. But politicizing the issue won't help clean the Gulf Coast anymore than President Obama's dogged work on his long and short putt," says Republican National Committee Communications Director Doug Heye.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: BP • DNC • GOP • Joe Barton
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. mother and sister of a soldier

    What other words describe Obama's tactic?

    June 22, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. PalmReader

    I guess I missed the day when the GOPers unveiled their job creation plan platform . . .

    It amazes me that the GOP continues to use jobs as a political issue. They haven't done ANYTHING to improve the situation, zilch, nothing. I wonder; putting aside the policital posturing, does the GOP even care about those truly suffering unemployment?

    Including new GOPer darling Rand Paul who has recently offered his outspoken criticism of the unemployed to suggest that the fault lay more with the unemployed themselves, and not businesses.

    Whatever happened to holding big business to the burner?

    June 22, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. JJ

    Hammer it home Dems, hammer it home!

    June 22, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Kevin

    I don't normally respond here, as this board seems to be over-run with left leaning ideologues who seldom respond with anything more than vitriol . However, I will say that in my opinion, Rep. Barton was correct, even if it wasn't the most politically correct thing to say. Clearly BP should be held accountable for their part in this disaster, the dollar amount capped only by the total needed to put things back as close to pre-spill levels as possible.
    However, what our legislatures were doing was embarrassing. Using Tony Hayward as a whipping boy was reprehensible, even by our standards! I was embarrassed to witness our lack of civility and decorum in such a setting. Further, I wonder just how much of the blame is BP's alone? Invariably, accidents happen, with some ending in such tragedies as this. Publicly bludgeoning a private company for an accident, without due process, and apparently with a "sky's the limit" approach to reparations, is wrong. We should not let our emotions get the better of us.

    June 22, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. mike

    Republicans have been yelling and screaming about tort reform that
    the lawyers love to sue and isn't funny that our president goes to BP
    and gets them to agree to pay the american people the damage they
    caused in the gulf now the republicans would rather see that money tied up in the courts for years like exxon did with the alaskan spill and then get there supreme court buddies that bush put in to agree to a cap
    lets get real they are not for the lawyers that represent the people
    they are for the lawyers that represent BP and the rest of companies
    in this country

    June 22, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Rimes

    This is all just a massive coverup for the monumental failure of President Obama. No one is even people in the oil business much less republicans are covering up the disaster BP created.

    June 22, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. cjg

    If it walks like a duck , quacks like a duck etc etc

    A leapord cannot change it spots etc etc

    A wolf in sheeps clothing is still a wolf etc etc

    So some things never change

    SO BUYER BEWARE! The GOP is still in the pockets of big business!

    June 22, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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