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Tony Hayward and Joe Barton: losers of the week

The week doesn't end until close of business tomorrow, but I would like to anoint BP CEO Tony Hayward and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) as the losers of the week. I give BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg a pass for his lost-in-translation "small people" comment. As Mike Barnicle said on "Morning Joe" today, Svanberg did something that has not been done by the chairmen of the bailed-out banks that almost pulled down the global economy: He apologized to the American people --- twice. To President Obama at their closed-door meeting yesterday and then again when he spoke to the press afterward.

Hayward is up there on Capitol Hill being grilled like gulf shrimp today. And it's not going well. This unsympathetic character already ticked people off late last month by whining about wanting his life back. Now Hayward is before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where his slow, lumbering non-answers make him sound like a hungover college student in the back of the lecture hall who's trying mightily to get an insistent professor off his back. He's failing miserably.

Meanwhile, Barton apologized -- apologized! -- to BP for the $20 billion escrow account to compensate gulf residents for their losses. He called it a "shakedown" and a "slush fund." Cue the condemnation. "What is shameful is that Joe 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," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by Barton defending BP. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, between 1989 and 2010, he received $27,350 from BP. Full disclosure: Obama received $77,051 in BP donations over that same period.

Update, 4:40 p.m.: Barton apologized for his apology to BP. “I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP. As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident.” Too late, man. Too late.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 17, 2010; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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I am in Barton's district and they said that the media is taking Congressman Barton out of context and that they are trying to hurt him politically.

I then asked them how that could be when he called Obama a party to a "shakedown" and how he said he was "ashamed of my country" and "would go to jail" for forcing a company into putting together a "slushfund"

The representative became quiet very quickly.

Call Barton Tell Him to RESIGN.

2109 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2002

Posted by: tjkeppler | June 17, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

So, Senatorr Joe, you creationist retard, you condemn BP for setting aside money to pay for the gulf oil disaster, calling it a 'slush fund' extorted by the President.

Whatsa Matter, Joe, didn't you get your cut?

Posted by: tullibardine | June 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I hear Smokin' Joe wants to apologize to surviving SS officers for making them the bad guys in all our WWII movies.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | June 17, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Politico's reporting of todays press briefing had the following:
"There's no shakedown," he says. "I find it outrageous to suggest that if in fact we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness to put aside billions of dollars ... to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning."

If, in fact???? Biden was in the meeting! Was he asleep or just not paying attention.

Did the US government insist on this fund? Yes or no? Since BP's legal obligation is $75 million, the government's insistence would, in fact, constitute a "shakedown".

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 17, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Americans are the losers for having the GOP (the Greedy Oil Party) still defending their bosses, Big Oil.

Posted by: joecoppo | June 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Barton is correct. Obama is a egotistical ultra radical who is determined to bring down our country. BP has already apologized millions of times, said they would pay for the damages, etc. Have some faith that they will do what they say. At least they are more credible than Obama and the left. Most people (myself included) believe nothing Obama or the left says..I truly weep for America and future generations of this country.

tjkeppier, you are an idiot. If you truly are in Barton's district, you should realize what a great rep you have. I seriously doubt that you do live in his district; you are just attempting to stir up trouble like most of the left.

Posted by: libertymeanslife | June 17, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Liberty, let's look at some History. Did Exxon pay? No.
Should we expect anything different from BP?
Hmmmm? No.
25 billion is just a start. In fact, we should be seizing all of BP's wells. That's where all there wealth is.

Posted by: pca6661 | June 17, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Liberty, let's look at some History. Did Exxon pay? No.
Should we expect anything different from BP?
Hmmmm? No.
25 billion is just a start. In fact, we should be seizing all of BP's wells. That's where all their wealth is.

Posted by: pca6661 | June 17, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Barton may have only received $27,000 from BP, but from the oil and gas industries in the same time period he received $1.5 million dollars. Perhaps he should have added a prologue to his apology and thanked the oil industry for the bribes he received which would be appropriate to calling the escrow fund a shakedown. Just when I think the GOP can't take me by surprise anymore, someone like this speaks up. Unbelievable.

Posted by: marcia9 | June 17, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Liberty, let's look at some History. Did Exxon pay? No."

False. Exxon paid several billion dollars. Don't tell untruths.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 17, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@ libertymeanslife -- You just made it abundantly clear that you're either a brainwashed radical or an oil exec.

What Obama did yesterday is use leverage --it's what the world of business, diplomacy and politics is based on -- to score a huge win for those suffering down south. Any argument against that is an argument against the American people. To hell with you.

Posted by: nickprzy | June 17, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart Loser of the decade...

Posted by: Steve94 | June 17, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@steve94 -- ahhh, pooor baby...throwing a tantrum because a reporter didn't kiss your party's a$$. That makes you a real winner, bud!

Posted by: nickprzy | June 17, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I just subscribed to the Post.
You hit it on the head!
This partisan B.S. that Barton exemplifies is so backwards!
Hayward does sound like a hung over,college smart-alec punk.
Well written!

Posted by: awirth6 | June 17, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: oilspillpostburner | June 17, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The Texas Bush REPUBLICAN Joe Barton is right up there with Mr. "I want my life back" Tony Hayward and BP's CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg calling the Gulf residents "small people" Republicans are now apologizing for and trying to obstruct and undermine President Obama's efforts to secure funds from BP to help restore the lives of Americans hurt by this Republican run oil industry disaster? You Republicans are absolutely DISGUSTING, you don't deserve to call yourselves Americans.

Posted by: Hillary08 | June 17, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The 'Small People' say thank you and look forward to chatting further in Court. Tony, buddy, it's a Bail Bond not a Fine, this is the DOJ who has not heard the end of giving Marc Rich his life back prematurely. Psst ... Gen. Holder remember that ? and finally, Joe, your Cement Kilns are the gift that just keeps giving. Thanks again. Not every smog enshrouded city is blessed with surrounding hills. What is LA going to do to compete, raise the Humidity ? Good luck with that one. HeHeHe.

Posted by: gannon_dick | June 17, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Joe Barton is the poster boy for the GOP. The GOP loves big oil. It's incredible!! Don't be fooled, tea party types, you're aligning yourselves with congresspeople who take massive amounts of $$ from Big Oil and then apologize to the Oil Companies!

It's shameful, and the "I take it back" apology squeezed out of Barton at the end of the day, thanks to an embarrassed Boehner who could see how bad it plays to be on the side of Big Oil -- that apology was really half-hearted, of the "if anyone misunderstood my meaning" sort. How could ANYONE misunderstand that Joe Barton and the GOP feel sorry for the giant corporations? There's no misconstruing, that's for sure.

Posted by: cturtle1 | June 17, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Check this out President Obama will not offer a Beer session with Barton-ha, ha, ha! If he does it will be Bull or gut homemade stuff called " mud oil brew".

Posted by: Scar1 | June 17, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Joe Barton was trying to point out the inequity between the prompt payment of 20 billion dollars and the 15 years it took for Union Carbide to pay 470 million in compensation to the families of the 8000+ who died as a result of the Bhopal trajedy.

Posted by: martinthurlow | June 17, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Capeheart - can you please write about the actual situation- he said the PROCEDURE was a shakedown. In America we did not (until the all powerful Obama) summon a company and demand payment. We have LAWS and procedures to repay people for wrong doing.

And by the way, BP has offered to pay this entire time so Obama did not accomplish anything -they were giving it up anyway.

Also, breaking news : hole not fixed. Might want to focus on that.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | June 18, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Republican Corporatism
More people have to wake up...the GOP litterary represent big-business and corporations against the interests of average Americans.
The following quote shows the ideology of the 'proto-fascists' in the Republican Party. " The first stage of Fascism", according to Benito Mussolini, "should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power".
Barton is gutting our democracy and Constitution as he disregards the criminal actions of BP and the destroyed lives of American citizens in the Gulf, instead he sees the 4th largest plutocrat corporation in the world as the victim!! The $20 billion fund isn't going to pay Saddam style palaces, it's repairing corporate crimes.
Barton shouldn't be representing citizens b/c he's a corporate fascist, seeing monopolistic, state-dependent corporations as stars and the important elements in their mythical free-enterprise system...much like a 'major-league' all star in baseball.
Barton - start representing voters not corporations who aren't given a role in our democracy or Constitution.

Posted by: Civilius | June 18, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse


What BP says about paying the full amount and what they are legally on the hook for are two different things. By law the limit is $75 million. What the administration is doing is setting up this fund to make sure the costs ARE covered. Remember BP lawyers have not been involved publicly yet and I can assure you they are working very hard at BP writing a response to all of this.

As for Barton, Bach and the rest of the ideologues on the far right. KEEP TALKING! The more you say the better we liberals will do in November. I actually heard Bachman say that it's terrible how we are treating this private corporation (Sean Hannity Show)and that no knows what the government is going to do with the $20 billion. This nut job actually thinks there is a vast left conspiracy to use the money for nefarious activities.

Entertaining but extremely sad.

Posted by: CulturalElite | June 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

So what if it was a shakedown. It was a good shakedown and the only way for the "small people" to be compensated while they are still alive. There should have been a shakedown of wall street for main street. It is time to teach corporations a lesson. I don't expect corporations to have a conscience. That is why we need real regulation and the occasional shakedown.

Posted by: annegreen | June 18, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

libertymeanslife is a moron like its hero that moron w. These repubes really are shameless and stupid.

Posted by: davidsawh | June 18, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

How about Century!! What a jerk. People dead and he apologizes to "I cannot recall" and I was not in that discussion" so, why are you even CEO. 60 million gallons and they calculaed; 760 violations??? 760!!!! and Texas accident. Why was this company allowed to do anything-and they got out there under the Bush administration not Obama.

Idiots! Oil Industry pen pals and!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 18, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

To libertymeanslife: So what the good people of the Gulf should do is what the folks wiped out by the Exxon Valdez spill had to do? Hire attorneys to sue BP, wait 10 years for a verdict and another 10 for all the appeals, and end up with $50 million -- a third of which went to said attorneys, instead of directly to them...and half of them were DEAD by the time the final appeal was resolved? Is that REALLY better than providing IMMEDIATE aid to people whose jobs and businesses are at risk RIGHT NOW? Aid that BP can't take its good, sweet time to parcel out...because that job will be done by the same man who administered the 9/11 victims' payouts? Are you KIDDING ME????? Your political bias (and probably your bigotry) are blinding you to the fact that President Obama just gave the residents of the Gulf HOPE. Hope that they can take to the BANK.

Posted by: marcywrite | June 18, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

This comment is for you Mr. oilspillpostburner. You can be ashamed of Rep. Barton if you want to but I am more ashamed of the President for throwing THIS COUNTRY under the bus and apologizing to every country that he visited for the "horrible" things that the United States might have done in the past,give me a break, if anyone needs to apologize, it's the President of these United States. And please don't forget that the big oil that the left always equates with the Bush administration, gave the Obama campaign millions during his run for President, no one ever mentions that in the media. You can bet that during the little 20 min. talk in Obama's office where he got TUFF with BP,there was a deal made with the White House that we will not find out about until closer to the next Presidential election.

Posted by: wild3002 | June 18, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

May an Englishman suggest that, although I do not know anything about Tony Hayward other than what is in print, that maybe there is a cultural divide here, both in terms of country and background.
It was put quite well by the late Yorkshire-born novelist Phyllis Bentley suggested there would be more understanding if the Americans used a third as many words and the Britons three times as many as they do.
Hayward took a geology degree and that probably compounds a tendency to avoid over-gilded speech: I suspect that "whining" may not have been what he was doing with the comment about "getting his life back", albeit he was certainly tone deaf to the American style of speech.
He has also been attacked over an undoubted failure by BP to adhere to safety regulations but in fairness I would like to see the Post find out how many of the hundred of violations so frequently referred to took place befor May 1, 2007, when he became CEO. sp as to have a reasonably accurate assessment of how far he has gone to change the approach.
That said may I also suggest another bit of fairness - that every article on compensation should note that Exxon-Mobil delayed as long as it could many payouts in relation to the Exxon Valdez and in 2008, having made USD 40.6 billion a year earlier, got a handy bonus when the US Supreme Court reduced the punitive damages (already cut by courts from USD 5 billion to USD 4.5 billion to USD 2.5 billion) to USD 507.5 million.
None of which should of course, let BP, the rig operators and anyone else involved in this disaster or any companies involved in polluting the environment to satisfy oil and mineral demand round the world escape paying the full costs.
Indeed it would be beneficial for the US to realise that if laws and stock market regulations put pressure to make short-term profits there needs to be much more societal emphasis on sensible regulation rigorously enforced and maybe we need laws to ensure that those who make the money take the risks (Maybe as used to be the case on Wall Street and at Lloyds of London make all those above a certain level of pay put their whole fortunes on the line for when there is a disaster? It would certainly reduce risk taking!)
Roll on USD 7 a gallon area for gasoline in the US - the kind of price that applies in the UK -and whose introduction might do a world of good to make the US more secure in many ways in the longer term.
Or maybe the Chinese could buy BP at a bargain price and make the US even more secure?

Posted by: JohnSutton1 | June 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I can imagine some sort of basis for Barton's apology to BP. It may be weak and few will agree with it, but it is a position that could be argued. His apology for the apology and claim that he was taken out of context or misunderstood is completely bogus and spineless. Nice cave in, Joe. Do you stand for anything?

Posted by: gjhinnova | June 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

we are going backwards.Oil keep puring.BP need to follow logical outline.Less than $20m could build a compensator.
Some people are selfish.They do not think about the children's
future.The diagram speaks for itself.

Posted by: reggaeforum | June 19, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Joe Barton's greatest sin was that he loudly and publicly declared what the GOP is really about, who they seek to protect, where their real loyalties are and the sort of policies they are likely to support. Barton exposed the dirty little secret about the GOP. Such sentiments as expressed by Barton are held secretly by most republicans.

Conservatives are used to winning office by concealing what they actually believe and what policies they are likely to enact. Why? Because if they specifically spelled out their regressive, pro-corporate agenda, most Americans wouldn't vote for them. What Barton did was to put meat on the bones of those hifalutin principles conservatives always run on.

So now we know what the conservatives mean when they say they are for "freedom". The freedom of oil companies like BP to despoil, exploit and enrich themselves with impunity. Limited Government. Right. Limiting government's ability to go after the BPs of the world. Tax cuts? We now know for whom.

Barton spilled the beans on the dirty little secret. The truth is out there now.

Posted by: jaxas70 | June 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I think Rep. Barton deserves a special award for honesty.

He's a Republican, which means he's *supposed* to side with greedy rich people against America.

The other Republicans are the ones who should apologize. They're no better than Barton, but lie about their loyalties.

Remember the book None Dare Call it Treason? It's time for the 21st Century Republican edition. These people are traitors and should be deported to Somalia, where they will pay no taxes and have no laws to impede their thefts.

Posted by: roblimo | June 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse


Exactly. Everybody else looked down and saw Tony the CEO Geologist.

Joe Barton looked down and saw the Provincial Governor of BP, Sovereign Republic of Oil Business and apologized for the breach of Diplomatic Protocol. His comments make perfect sense.

The only misconstruction was the assumption of a shared World View.

Posted by: gannon_dick | June 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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