Dem Web video pounces on Barton after Twitter gaffe

Democrats put out a new Web video Thursday that targets Rep. Joe Barton after the Republican's office appeared to defend his apology to BP, the company responsible for the Gulf oil spill.

Barton's office promoted an article in a conservative magazine using its Twitter account on Wednesday that supported the lawmaker's controversial apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward at a hearing before a congressional committee last week.

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The video, cut by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is titled "On Their Side" and paints Republicans as allies of big oil companies, insurance companies and Wall Street.

In particular, the committee targets sound bites from Barton, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 presidential candidate who is considering running again in 2012.

"This is part of a new effort we've dubbed 'How They Would Govern,' which demonstrates — in Republicans' own words — that if Republicans are put back in charge they will do as they have always done: stand up for Big Oil, big banks and insurance companies at the expense of everyone else," DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse wrote in a statement.

Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, last week accused the government of perpetrating a "shakedown" of BP by establishing a $20 billion company-funded escrow account to pay for claims against the company resulting from the spill. Some GOP lawmakers came to his support but others condemned his statement.

Amid criticism from both parties, Barton was forced to apologize for his comments by GOP leaders and was in danger of losing his position as ranking member. His office pushed the American Spectator article defending him on Wednesday, but it took the Twitter message down later in the day.

Barton's spokesman later said he was responsible for the tweet and that the congressman had no knowledge of it.

The video also hits Steele for saying in an interview that he urged people to trust private businesses that built the economy, including Wall Street firms, and comments from Romney defending health insurers.

The RNC objected to the characterization of Steele's comments in the video, saying Democrats cut out the part in which he referenced Main Street as an engine of the economy. 

“You know that Democrats are getting worried about the fall elections when they begin cutting and splicing comments in order to mislead voters," RNC spokesman Katie Wright said. "This is exactly the type of behavior that Speaker Pelosi is worried would come to light if Republicans take the majority, which is why they have resorted to blatant falsehoods to protect it."


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This post was updated at 2:29 p.m.