The Washington Post on all the apologies yesterday -- by BP CEO Tony Hayward and GOP Rep. Joe Barton: “The much-anticipated congressional hearing Thursday on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill came down to a single word: Sorry. In a room packed with cameras and spectators, BP chief executive Tony Hayward said, ‘I am deeply sorry’ for the lost lives and environmental damage from his company's doomed offshore rig.”
“But the British businessman's apology before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was upstaged by another one. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) apologized to BP, saying the deal made at the White House Wednesday to set up an escrow fund to cover oil-spill damages and claims amounted to a ‘$20 billion shakedown.’”
"The top three House Republican leaders condemned Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) apology to BP and reiterated that the oil giant should pay to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and compensate Gulf Coast residents who have been hurt by it," Roll Call says. "The leaders' joint statement Thursday came after Barton met with Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) in the afternoon and was told to either apologize or he would lose his position as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to GOP leadership aides familiar with the exchange. Barton issued an apology later in the afternoon."
"Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), whose Pensacola district is among the most affected areas in the Gulf by the oil spill, condemned Barton for apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a committee meeting on Thursday," The Hill reports. "'I condemn Mr. Barton’s statement. Mr. Barton’s remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership on the Energy and Commerce Committee,' Miller said in a statement. 'He should step down as ranking member of the Committee.'"
The Washington Post's Milbank observes, "There, in front of the cameras, one of the most senior Republicans in the House had suffered an acute attack of Obama Derangement Syndrome. The president had just secured from a British oil company a promise to set aside $20 billion to help devastated Americans -- and Barton had sided with the firm that has devastated the Gulf of Mexico. Suddenly, the hearing was not about Hayward."
The Hill: "A senior Republican gift-wrapped a gaffe about the oil spill and handed it to President Barack Obama on Thursday, ceding the GOP’s advantage on a disaster that has plagued the administration for weeks and called its competence into question."
The liberal group Americans United for Change piles on Joe Barton with this Web video -- and even brings in Bernie Madoff?
We’re all Jim Bunnings now? "A time-sensitive tax extenders bill stalled in the Senate on Thursday, creating another political headache for Senate Democrats as they seek to extend jobless benefits and middle-class tax breaks that have already expired," Roll Call writes, adding, "The vote was 56-40, and 60 votes were needed to beat back a GOP-led filibuster."