[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