Melancon, Vitter trade barbs over BP oil spill

David VitterDavid VitterThe Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die Questions loom over Franken ethics probe You're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat MORE introduced a bill capping BP's liability at $150 million. Damages could top $30 billion. Vitter was caught bailing out BP,” it continues, later adding, “David Vitter wanted to bail out BP. Charlie Melancon fought for Louisiana. That's the difference.”

The ad is a reference to legislation Vitter introduced in May that would increase a company’s liability limit for offshore spills to $150 million, or its combined profits during the preceding four quarters, if they’re above $150 million.

In BP’s case, they are much higher. The company’s combined profits in the four quarters before the spill were roughly $20 billion. Vitter also floated a plan that would require BP specifically to pay claims regardless of its legal liability.

BP, under intense pressure from the White House, agreed months ago to a $20-billion, independently administered claims fund.

Vitter’s campaign accused Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying MORE (D-N.J.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, of blocking Vitter’s legislation – a three sentence rebuttal to the new TV ad that manages to attack Melancon, Menendez, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Obama.

“Melancon hasn't met a bailout he didn’t like and vote for. And it's clear he hasn’t read Sen. Vitter’s legislation that would have held BP accountable for all costs without any cap, if only his liberal campaign chair in the Senate hadn’t blocked the bill. Melancon is clearly trying to distract from the billions of wasteful spending and bailouts he joined Obama and Pelosi in voting for,” Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar said.

Polls in recent weeks shows Melancon trailing Vitter by double digits.