TPM News

The next salvo in the tussle over Joe Barton's apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward will be Democratic pressure on individual House Republicans to join the call for Barton to relinquish his position as the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

"The question for every House Republican incumbent and candidate is simple: either stand with the people of the Gulf and American taxpayers or with Joe Barton, the 114 Member Republican Study Committee, and Republican Leadership in their belief that holding British Petroleum accountable is a 'shakedown'," says Ryan Rudominer, National Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "For starters, Republicans need to answer whether they think British Petroleum apologist Joe Barton should remain the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee."

The two parties remain locked in a bitter political fight, which touched off last week when Barton became the face of GOP sympathy for the oil industry, with oil still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

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With Republicans (and a couple Democrats) holding up legislation in the Senate that would extend unemployment benefits and provide needed aid to states, liberal groups are ratcheting up the pressure on GOP moderates to cross the aisle and break the impasse.

In a six-figure buy, Americans United for Change (AUC), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will run the television ad embedded below in Maine. The ad targets Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who are both helping to block the legislation.

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Rahm: 'In Case You Forgot What Republican Governance Was Like, Joe Barton Reminded You' Appearing on This Week, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel linked the Republican Party as a whole to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who apologized to BP for the treatment it has received from the Obama administration: "Do you think that BP is the aggrieved party here? Do you think that Wall Street should be left alone and not have any reforms? Elections are about choices. Those are what is fundamental. There is a difference in our philosophies. And not only in our philosophies, how we make sure that American strengthens its economy. Joe Barton and the Republican -- major voices in the Republican Party just told you their view. And in case you forgot what Republican governance was like, Joe Barton reminded you."

McConnell: 'I Couldn't Disagree With Joe Barton More' Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "I couldn't disagree with Joe Barton more," and that it was "nonsense" for Democrats to link Barton's apology to BP to the Republican Party's policies on the oil industry. McConnell also criticized the Obama administration's handling of the oil spill: "If you're going to advocate expansion of government it doesn't look very good when the government you're already in charge of doesn't function so well."

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Obama: Republicans Blocking Votes In The Senate In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama attacked Senate Republicans for blocking votes on unemployment benefits, lifting the cap on corporate liability for oil spills, and on his appointments.

"All we ask for is a simple up or down vote," Obama said of the unemployment benefits. "That's what the American people deserve. Just like they deserve an up or down vote on legislation that would hold oil companies accountable for the disasters they cause - a vote that is also being blocked by the Republican leadership in the Senate. Right now, the law places a $75 million cap on the amount oil companies must pay to families and small businesses who suffer economic losses as a result of a spill like the one we're witnessing in the Gulf Coast. We should remove that cap. But the Republican leadership won't even allow a debate or a vote."

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Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus, issued an urgent appeal to supporters Friday: we cannot let the assaults on her virtue stand!

The Bachmanns are concerned about a concert in Minneapolis entitled "F*** Michele Bachmann," which they apparently think is a reference to the organizers' desire to engage in coitus with Mrs. Bachmann rather than a desire to see her out of office. To help them get over the pain and despair, they would like their supporters to send them money.

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In June 1998, Elena Kagan helped rework some talking points written by White House staffers for President Clinton about the National Rifle Association in order to soften his tone and praise the NRA's members.

The comments were for a planned Clinton question-and-answer session with the NRA, one week after actor Charlton Heston took the helm of the massive organization. TPMDC is reviewing thousands of emails released today in advance of Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings and a White House source pointed us to this section.

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The recount of the first round in the Alabama Republican gubernatorial primary has come to a close -- with the status quo seemingly reaffirmed, that state Rep. Robert Bentley edged out businessman Tim James for a spot in the July 13 Republican runoff.

The first-round June 1 primary saw Bradley Byrne, the former chancellor of the state's two-year colleges, come in first place with 28% of the vote -- far short of the 50% needed to avoid a July 13 runoff. Bentley and James were virtually tied at 25% each, leading James to request a recount.

The fun part: The self-funding businessman James, a son former Gov. Fob James, spent $200,000 for the recount. And for his trouble, he lost a net 104 votes against Bentley. James has a press conference scheduled for Monday afternoon, to discuss what his next move will be.

North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge (D) is battling back against an allegation of a past physical altercation with a high school student in the wake of his videotaped altercation with a college student this week. At the same time, reports have emerged that the viral internet video of the event that has pulled him from obscurity into the headlines may have been connected to the national Republican party.

Etheridge publicly apologized for the taped altercation, which took place last Thursday. While a video camera rolled, Etheridge physically confronted a self-described student who was asking him about his political positions.

The representative has taken a very different approach toward a new assault allegation, leveled by a Mississippi man, Brandon Leslie, who told the Southern Pines Pilot then-candidate Etheridge manhandled him in 1996 when Leslie was a senior at a North Carolina high school.

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BP isn't standing alone with one foot on the ground and the other in its mouth. Since the spill began in April, Republicans have demonstrated an exceptional tendency to blurt out their inconvenient beliefs about the disaster and the federal response. And we're not talking about backbenchers here -- the dirty talk has come from their most powerful and visible members. From Capitol Hill to the Gulf Coast, we bring you, in chronological order, the top six GOP oil spill slip-ups.

1. Rand Paul
He's since gone into hiding, likely on NRSC orders, but back when the Kentucky Senate hopeful was still flapping his gums (to hilarious effect) on national television, he let slip that he wanted the Obama administration to leave BP aloooooone!

"This sort of, you know 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business," Paul said on Good Morning America last month.


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The Democratic National Committee has a new national TV ad, aiming to nail the whole Republican Party to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) public apology to BP for the $20 billion escrow account that the Obama administration worked out with them, to pay for damages from the big oil spill.

The ad makes hay of Barton's status as the ranking Republican on the House committee that oversees the oil industry. The announcer says: "Now, at President Obama's direction, BP's set aside 20 billion for recovery on the Gulf coast. But if Republicans were in charge, this is the guy who'd be overseeing BP."

The GOP clearly knew how politically damaging this would be, as they ordered Barton to retract his apology immediately. But that's not stopping the Dems from putting out a message that Barton said what his party was really thinking about making BP pay for the damages.

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