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

DNC out with second 'Barton-BP' ad

The DNC on Tuesday released a second ad that highlights Rep. Joe Barton’s controversial apology to BP.

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. Really

    Perfect... Don't let a crisis go to waste but use it to your political advantage. When will people realize the Dems dont care about the "people". It is all about power and control.

    June 22, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Angus McDugan

    Dems using the disaster in the gulf for political gain. Who would have thought?

    June 22, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. matt

    the Dems and this president is out to milk every last drop out of this Barton comment. What they always do is underestimate the public. i for one disagree with barton but was impressed at how quickly the gop leadership stood up and disagreed with barton. what was more impressive in my book is how quickly it was that they went to strip him of his position. the sentiment today is to throw out the bums and clean up DC. The gop acted in unison with this sentiment and for that, they scored big in my book.

    June 22, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Angus McDugan

    Also, the bottom line is that Barton had very poor timing to apologize to BP. i.e., It shows Barton's poor decision making and insensitivity to Americans who are affected. BP screwed-up and knows that this will cost way more than $20B to correct. There was no shake down. Obama did not force anything to happen. In fact, BP was hoping for an offer such as this. Given that Obama has muddied the cost of impact situation by forcing a halt to off-shore activities for 6 months, BP welcomed this and will use it to their advantage. GOP was right in demanding an apology. Rush may be right in principal, but he is wrong in the reality of this situation. We must do what is right and not force political score keeping on America.

    June 22, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. GI Joe

    It amazes me that these people want the moratium lifted on 33 out of 4000 wells - against the decision to double check 33 out of 4000 wells - but they will scream for help from the government while doing it.

    If 33 of 4000 wells causes massive hardship, then the gulf is in deeper doo than anyone can imagine.

    I think these republicans are, again, worried about their corporate buddies, while demanding they pay - or we pay - or or or or or or

    June 22, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. DJ in TX

    Why don't these people and include Rush Limbaugh ask the citizens affected by the spill do they give a rat's a– whether or not it was a shakedown..............Even if there are conservatives affected, do you think they would turn down the money?

    This shouldn't be about shakedowns or whatever, it should be about the people of the Gulf and the U.S. The GOP tries to "demonize" the President, but they want him to stop "demonizing" BP? Give me a break.

    June 22, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Johnny

    Just too bad all that oil couldn't wash up on Texas shores.

    June 22, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. snow

    With nobummer the major receiver of oil money, it is kinda funny that the demorats try this tact. The demorats accept oil money at an alarming rate but want to put on a show for the media where they try to show they feel your pain.If they felt the pain of the citizens, then they would not be running this country further and further into debt and are now trying to pass cap and tax which will cause energy prices to go "up at least 40 per cent" for the average household.

    June 22, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Anonymous

    This kind of politics has to stop. It's not a matter of free speech, it's a matter of common good.
    I'm waiitng for the first court case on lieing under free speech protection to emerge becuase of these political ads. It will be interestingto see the inturpretation of the courts

    June 22, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. gt

    if this is the democrats best defense,,, so be it ,, but neither party is doing anything positive for the american people...fire all of them and start over,,, what a disaster,,, and get our troops home now before another soldier get kill or wounded...

    June 22, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. dcmisty

    Enough is enough. Barton made a stupid, insensitive statement and was chastised by the GOP leadership. Now let it drop! It's behavior like this from BOTH parties that continues to fuel the partisanship disease in D.C. As long as the GOP and DEMs continue to act like ill-behaved children on a playground, we will never move forward as a country. Regardless of party affiliation, we the people derserve leadership in our Congress not misbehaving children in a bullying contest!

    June 22, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Todd

    This is not how the RNC would Govern. This is how the democrats spin everything. Democrats are indicative of the lowest scum on Earth and have no business sweeping the floors in the White House let alone running the Country!.

    June 22, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. Democratic plays politics and does nothing

    Obama will stoop to anything to score political points - and while his white House does nothing, they try to score points on the barton comment - despicable --utterly despicable.

    Rather than bash Barton, how about if Obama stops vacationing and actually does something about the oil still leaking and the clean up that is sorely lacking.

    Obama is all about scoring points and - making sound bytes – and having photo ops. Well the new national bird is now the oiled brown Pelican thanks to Obama.

    June 22, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Analogy

    Bush:Katrina::Obama:BP Oil Spill
    Politicians – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    June 22, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. stop demonizing

    it is the right of every big corporation to poison all living things as the business sees fit

    the nerve of anyone to question a business

    that is un-american

    June 22, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Franklin

    The president is using his regulatory and other powers to intimidate a company into giving the Executive Branch of the federal government $20B, to be overseen by an unelected and unapproved by Congress "czar".

    nevermind the characterizations of "shakedown" etc: these actions are unconstitutional.

    "A nation of laws and not of men."

    We are now facing a crisis much worse than an oil leak.

    June 22, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Marty, FL

    Limbaugh's Republican minions siding with BP's negligence are reprehensible in the face of such a disaster affecting our country.

    June 22, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Actually, it is the republicans who can't talk of any accomplishments. They trashed the country when Cheney ran the Bush White House, and are doing their damnedest to make sure it doesn't get fixed. All they have is a record of standing with big insurance companies and big oil against the American People.

    June 22, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. Steve

    "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.

    Let's just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks, eh Doug?? Pathetic...

    June 22, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Republicans will always bow down to big oil, that is part of their party platform.

    June 22, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Dano

    The DNC doesn't have to resort to comedy skits or spoof ads like the RNC. Republicans keep saying and doing so many stupid things it's just too easy to come up with new material for their ads!

    June 22, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    And to think they almost had a chance to take over the congress, which would make Barton the committee chair. Well, republicans will always have the NRA and the second amendment to try to overthrow the democratically elected government. 'Party on' you crazy inept right wingnuts.

    June 22, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Eric

    Honestly, this is the best Democrats have in 2010?
    After two years of Obama's Chicago Chicanery, you're still trying to push the culture of corruption canard?

    Keep blaming Bush. See how that works out for you.
    You guys are sunk... for a generation.

    June 22, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Cut Spending

    It may not have been the 'popular thing to say', but it is unfortunately true, There has never been a time where the government has forced a private company to give them (the Executive Branch) money to pay out to those injured–WITHOUT KNOWING THE ACTUAL COSTS.

    Yes, BP WILL PAY FOR DAMAGES–and they should because they screwed up. BUT, it shouldn't go into an fund controlled by Obama or his Czar. The damages should be awarded through the JUDICIAL BRANCH like it has been in the past.

    Can't blame the cowardly DNC for capitalizing on an unpopular viewpoint. Hopefully Americans can see that the it isn't the amount of money, but HOW the money is being extracted that is 'the government shakedown".

    June 22, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The GOP has provided the Democrats with a BOUNTY of opportunities to demonstrate to the general public, in the GOP's OWN WORDS AND ACTIONS ( no FAKE TV necessary) who and what they really are.

    The opportunities are truly ENDLESS, and they don't stop coming! It's like manna from heaven! You couldn't PRAY for what we have received, and we couldn't be MORE GRATEFUL.

    See, that's how WE – as in the general public – feel about all the stupid stunts, obstructions, lies, blunders, apologies, misuse AND misappropriations of funds, lack of job perfomance, that the GOP has been showering us with since Obama became President. WHAT THE DEMOCRATS CHOOSE TO DO WITH THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: THE IDIOCY THAT HAS BECOME THE GOP is another thing altogether.

    Sometimes when God blesses you folks don't know what to do with the blessings. We can only hope the Dems take advantage of what they've been given, and utilize the walking time bomb of amoral, and greedy neanderthals that the GOP has "evolved" into, to the best of their abilities, and to the benefit of the Party and the country as a whole.

    June 22, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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