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Rep. Barton, the Apologist

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Was That "Apology for an Apology' Really an Apology?

When you've got nationally syndicated conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer calling something that you've said ""the most politically stupid statement of the year," and you're also a conservative, you know you've screwed up.

That's what happened to Texas Congressman Joe Barton. In a House subcommittee meeting convened to hear BP CEO Tony Hayward apologize to Americans on behalf of the company he heads, for the worst environmental disaster in history, Barton felt compelled to apologize to BP. He said he was ""ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," referring to President Obama's high-pressure tactics to get BP to agree to setting up a $20 billion escrow fund for the people of the Gulf Coast who have suffered financial losses due to this epic oil spill that is still gushing its poison into the waters just off the Louisiana coast. "He called it "a tragedy of the first proportion, that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, a $20 billion shakedown." (

"Rep. Joe Barton was forced to recant by House minority (Republican) leaders outraged at the vision of an American lawmaker apologizing at a congressional hearing to a foreign head of a corporation that had caused great hardships for millions of Gulf Coast residents." (

Not surprisingly, Barton has been the single largest recipient of political contributions from big oil over the last several years. His apology for his apology went like this:

"I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident," he said. "If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued, in opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction."

Is that really an apology? That's about as good as it's going to get though, because he and many other Republicans really do believe that his initial statements were accurate. Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, former Rep. Dick Armey of Texas, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia chimed in on what they were calling "shakedown politics," questioning the legality of the escrow fund and calling it a "redistribution of wealth fund."

Even prior to this incident we had Republicans coming to the defense of poor ole BP. Republican Rand Paul, recently nominated Kentucky Senatorial candidate, called Obama's handling of the crisis "anti-business" and "really un-American." Then we have Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska saying, "This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a natural phenomenon." WHAT?!!! Tell that to the brown pelicans covered in oil on the Louisiana coastline.

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A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo with an MBA in 1980, John went into the banking business from 1981-1991. John went into the gymnastics business with his wife, with whom he has two children, in 1992 and grew it enough (more...)

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