Cornyn: Obama has become ‘claims adjuster-in-chief’

A senior Republican senator on Thursday said he shares some concerns expressed by Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who caused a furor on Capitol Hill and a quick rebuke from the White House by apologizing to a BP executive.

Barton said he was “ashamed” that President Obama had forced the oil company to put $20 billion into an escrow account to be administered by an attorney already working for the government and chosen by Obama. Barton called it “a $20 billion shakedown.”

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, indicated he was sympathetic to Barton’s point of view.

“I think it’s good that there’s going to be some money there,” Cornyn said to a handful of reporters. “But I think the part that Representative Barton is expressing some concern about, that I share the concern, is that this has become a political issue for the president and he’s trying to deal with it by showing how tough he’s being against BP.”

“The president’s kind of gone from commander-in-chief to claims adjuster-in-chief,” Cornyn said. “I just think the federal government finds itself in a crisis situation and finds itself embedding the federal government in what heretofore usually has been resolved by legal contracts and the requirements of the law.”

Other Republican leaders distanced themselves from Barton’s comments. House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said he disagreed with Barton’s remarks.

“BP agreed to fund the cost of this cleanup from the beginning and I’m glad they are being held accountable,” Boehner told reporters.

Barton made his remarks during testimony by BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

“I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, that’s got no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for the future,” Barton said.

“I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize,” Barton said.

He added that he supported subcommittee chairman Rep. Bart Stupak, Pennsylvania Democrat, in submitting Hayward to tough questioning.

“There are questions that need to be asked that are legitimate because we don’t want another oil spill of this magnitude,” Barton said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at Barton soon after the congressman made his remarks, in a statement e-mailed to the press.

  • Pingback: The Republicans are not on your side | Second Reagan Revolution

  • Amazingoly

    The Washington cleanup will begin in a few short months. The ones who are up in 2012 had better change their tune NOW or they will get kicked out too. Most Americans can’t wait for November.

  • mattmon1

    I am starting to think that Obama is crumbling mentally. Stress has been mentioned even by favorable media in the past and the Golfing and vacations are so poorly timed it seems they are following through on low-stress situations regardless of political damage. This doesn’t make any sense with this Regime.
    Why not cancel any of these events during the spill? It is obvious that Obama is thin-skinned and arrogant and, is being shielded from negative press by those close to him as much as possible. But, the polls are dropping for him precipitously and he must know this. This guy is starting to speak to a crowd that doesn’t like him when he speaks to the general public (as opposed to VERY select crowds) and, his tone has changed. It is pathetic to see his attempts lately at ass kicking and his bomb of an oval office speech. These are the kinds of rejection that the Man Obama has never experienced. Think about this…Obama is an Ideologue as is anyone close to him. He is the type of guy that can’t have a conversation with peers that disagree. There isn’t a Republican anywhere near this guy and the Dems are all from the farthest Leftist corners of Academia. They are people with no private sector or real world experience and they all know they have power but, they are trying to dominate actual experts and they cannot even converse with them as the Left speak in wants, wishes and ‘the way things should be” with no regard to the bottom line as they believe it is all stolen wealth anyway. Now, they are in power and they don’t know how anything actually works and the best executive in any field would not be able to explain things as they simply do not have the capacity to understand anything that doesn’t CONFORM to what they have pre-conceived. This has been revealed repeatedly. The “shock” of Waxman and others about companies getting killed by the Health Care bill was explained by top business execs to Obama and the aide that leaked the story said he kept trying to explain how the bill would affect him and he was simply confuse and ended up getting pissy and storming off saying just deal with it! This is the way any intense meeting ends up. I predicted Obama would not be able to talk to Benjamin Netanyhu as he is an intense zealot that loves Israel and loves America which is very much the opposite of Obama. So, I think the accumulation of hating interacting with business Men that ARE FAR MORE QUALIFIED than he is which is making him angry and he is trying to silence everyone he comes in contact with. I think there will be TONS of bad press when this joke is out of office. All of which will be very revealing and confirm his amateur status. He fears this for sure. And, the day-to-day isn’t working out very well for him either.
    He is willing to seize power as he goes and as the “stupid American people”continue to “misunderstand” his message and are increasingly angered by this totalitarian regime he will be confronted with dictatorial thoughts…I just don’t think this guy is going to last the full term. My prediction: massive losses in November will either calm him down as his agenda will be dead and possibly, reversed. Or, the affirmation that his own party will not want him to run at the top of the ticket will drive him insane and he will either commit a crime that will have him step down or be removed or, he will simply step down.
    If you consider the Man and his pre-conception that this was just a bunch of do-nothing, golf-playing, greedy aristocrats laughing while sending troops off to war was totally wrong and you do need real-world knowledge to be President. What a shock!

  • cysusa

    There is no doubt that BP has the bulk of responsibility but by the government’s own admission they made mistakes too. Also, there are other companies involved here. More than anything – this country has laws and due process. The president cannot make a company set aside an amount without no due process at all. He is requiring that they pay for the laid off workers due to his order to shut down the other drills. A criminal investigation is now being conducted but he still has not lifted the Jones Act and accepted all the help offered to more quickly get the oil cleaned. Why? The urgency is to get this stopped and cleaned up and we are not using all resources to do that. If we start by passing the laws and due process when does it stop? What happens to a regular citizen? It’s a slippery slope with a dangerous ending.

  • mattmon1

    We are watching a dictator take shape. The power grabs will only increase and think about this-Why did they do this BEFORE the investigation? Cover up, cover up…Now, they have an open-ended fund they can force BP to keep adding money to as they wish. This makes BP a silent partner now they cannot blame the Regime for its many failings as this fund is “The Boot on BP’s neck” they can force them to add more money at will.
    Clearly, Obama and the Regime screwed the pooch on this disaster from the start and all of this Political Theater is a sickening/Marxist/Stalinist display of extortion. I hope we hunt this regime down after they have been defeated and prosecute anywhere possible. This is designed to create international distrust of America and what it amounts to is Obama sanctions on the American people. What company that does anything environmentally sensitive will continue to do business when the President of the United States can walk in and demand 20 Billion dollars for a mistake? Without any legal discussion? Obama is beyond Chicago-politics Obama is using Third-world strong arming more like the President of Kenya than the United States of America!!!

  • Lochness71

    Really?! No comments on how slimey these guys are. I guess it is hard to defend this horrible behavior.

    • anniebanannie

      It is pretty hard to defend slimey characters like Gibbs and Obama. I noticed you didn’t.