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Emanuel takes aim at Barton, GOP

June 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton's apology to BP typifies the GOP view that BP is the "aggrieved party."

Barton has since rescinded his apology to BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and apologized for saying a $20 billion BP fund for Gulf of Mexico oil spill victims resulted from a "shakedown" by the White House.

The apology notwithstanding, Emanuel said on ABC's "This Week" the original statements and apology were no accidents.

"That's not a political gaffe. Those were prepared remarks," he said. "(Republicans) see the aggrieved party here as BP, not the fishermen and the communities down there affected.

"I think what Joe Barton did was remind the American people, in case they forgot, this is how the Republicans would govern," Emanuel said.

He noted Rand Paul, as a Senate candidate in Kentucky, called BP's treatment "un-American" and said other Republicans have defended BP and criticized the White House for forcing the company to set up the $20 billion fund.

Emanuel defended the administration's handling of the oil spill while acknowledging "problems" and "bottlenecks" he called inevitable as the well continued gushing oil a mile beneath the surface of the gulf.

"What's important is: Are we capping the well? Are we capturing oil? Are we containing the cleanup? Are we filing the claims? Are we cleaning up the mess?" Emanuel said. "That's what's important."

He said more than 6,000 ships and 25,000 workers are involved in oil containment, capture and cleanup and that the White House forced BP to set up the victims' fund, increase cleanup capacity and create a second relief well.

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