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GOP candidates echo Barton on BP 'shakedown'

As I said last week, Democrats are hardly being subtle about their desire to link Republicans with Rep. Joe Barton's "BP apology." Most Republicans are politely checking out the bait at arms length, wincing, and putting it down -- see Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), passing on a chance to comment on Barton.

But the point of Barton's comment -- the idea that the BP escrow fund represents a "shakedown" -- is not being dismissed. In Wisconsin, both GOP candidates for U.S. Senate -- the winner of the primary will face Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) -- criticized the fund. Ron Johnson:

It is very troubling when we circumvent the rule of law. I think they would have been held liable, and that would be the way to do this.

Dave Westlake:

Shaking BP down for $20 billion doesn't do anything to further that end or to get the oil cleaned up faster.

In Colorado, it was an aide to once-frontrunner Jane Norton (Ken Buck now leads in some polls for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination) who called the escrow account a "slush fund." I'm not seeing a massive trend here, but I'm not sure that local reporters are all posing the question. Plenty of conservative candidates agree with Rush Limbaugh that the fund amounts to "thuggery" or a shakedown -- something the Gulf Coast Republicans who favored the fund disagree with.

By David Weigel  |  June 22, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Energy  
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