Shortly after Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called a White House “shakedown” of the oil company, the Texas congressman apologized for apologizing. “I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House this morning, and I retract my apology to BP,” he said in a statement.
But today on his official Twitter page, Barton appeared to take back that apology, linking to an article on the conservative American Spectator website saying “Joe Barton Was Right”:
As Dave Weigel notes, the Spectator article “is a robust defense of what Barton said, knocking the Obama administration for ‘Alinsky’ tactics and hatred of business.” But Barton has since deleted the tweet. Greg Sargent reports that a Barton spokesperson is claiming responsibility:
Guilty as sin, your honor. Without thinking about it much, I added a headline from one of the daily news clips to a website that is, in turn, linked to the congressman’s Twitter account. I won’t be doing that again.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling finds that Barton’s fellow Texans are overwhelmingly siding with the President:
Texans think that Barack Obama’s right and Joe Barton’s wrong when it comes to BP’s responsibility for cleaning up the oil spill, and a plurality of voters in the state think Barton should lose his leadership post on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Only 18% of voters think that BP deserved the apology Barton sent its way last week to 65% who think it did not. Barton doesn’t even get much support from Republican voters on that front – only 23% of them say it was right to apologize to BP. With Democrats and independents the numbers are even lower at 17% and 12% respectively.
The poll also found that the “episode is having a negative impact on how Texas voters perceive Barton overall. Only 21% have a favorable opinion of him while 28% see him negatively.” Meanwhile, 64% of Texans think Obama was right to ask BP to compensate victims of the oil spill with only 27% opposed to that move.
“[I]f you’re scoring at home,” ABC News’ Rick Klein tweeted, “Joe Barton has now unapologized for apologizing for his apology.”