Opinion Brief

Republican to BP CEO: Sorry for the 'shakedown'

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has apologized to BP's chief for the "$20 billion shakedown" he says the White House foisted on the company. Is he out of his mind?

A Republican congressman took it upon himself to apologize to BP chief executive Tony Hayward for the White House "shakedown" that led the company to establish a $20 billion compensation fund. Calling the agreement a "terrible precedent," Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said BP had been the victim of "political pressure." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was quick to react: "Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction." What a blow to the GOP, says Chris Good at The Atlantic. Barton's apology "encapsulates everything Democrats want voters to believe about Republicans" — that they're in the pocket of Big Oil, and oppose clean energy. But Barton was simply pointing out, says Ross Kaminsky at American Spectator, that Obama treated BP "the way Al Capone treated a rival moonshine distributor" — unlawfully, and with disproportionate force. Watch Barton's apology here:

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