Sharron Angle Backtracks After Calling BP Cash a "Slush Fund"

Sharron Angle speaks to supporters after winning the Nevada Republican U.S. Senate primary election race Tuesday, June 8, 2010 in Las Vegas. Angle will face Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. in November. AP

AP

In a statement today, Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle walked back remarks she made last night comparing the $20 billion BP escrow account to a "slush fund."

"Having had some time to think about it," Angle said, "the caller and I shouldn't have used the term 'slush fund'; that was incorrect."

In the statement, Angle also attempted to tone down her earlier criticisms and reposition her stance on the issue.

"There's been some confusion this morning regarding my position on BP and the oil spill," Angle said. "My position is that the creation of this fund to compensate victims was an important first step-- BP caused this disaster and they should pay for it."

She added: "But there are multiple parties at fault here and there should be a thorough investigation. We need to look into the actions, (or inactions) of the Administration and why the regulatory agency in charge of oversight was asleep at the wheel while BP was cutting corners."

On KXNT, a local Nevada radio station, Angle responded to a question on whether she believed the government had the authority to have BP create such a fund by saying, "Well, the short answer is no, government shouldn't be doing that to a private company." She added, "And I think you named it. Clearly, it's a slush fund."

And while Angle conceded that BP "cut corners" and committed a "criminal and willful act," she said that the government's role in getting BP to create the fund was an overreach of its powers.

"But everyone in the petroleum industry shouldn't be penalized for one bad person's actions," Angle said. "It would be like throwing us all in prison because one person committed murder. And that's exactly what's going on here is it's an overreaction by government for not the right reasons."

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The episode is the latest in a string of critical statements made by Republicans that have been followed by quick apologies.

Many of you may remember Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas who made similar remarks during the congressional hearings for BP CEO Tony Hayward. Barton called the escrow fund a "shakedown" and criticized the Attorney General for "participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund...".

Barton later apologized for his remarks after an uproar of criticism, including calls for his removal from his position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul came under similar fire when he called Mr. Obama's reaction to BP "un-American." Paul said, "I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen."

Paul later toned down his support of the oil industry and said that they "need to obey some rules."

The analogy was also popular with some Conservative pundits, including Rush Limbaugh, who in a show earlier this month called the escrow account "another bailout fund" and a "miniature slush fund."

Mr. Obama will be campaigning for Reid in Nevada tonight, but it is unknown whether he will address Angle's comments or not. However, if the president's speeches earlier today were any indication of what he might say tonight, a mention of this episode could be in store.

  • Jaywon Choe

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