Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has very quickly reversed herself on comments she made on a radio show yesterday, in which she slammed the $20 billion escrow account that BP negotiated with the Obama administration to pay damage claims resulting from the Gulf oil spill. Angle’s reversal — she now says her description of the account as a “slush fund” was “incorrect” — provides a further data point that while bashing the fund may play well with some on the right, it is also politically untouchable with the wider electorate.
Angle released this statement:
Setting the record straight about BP and the Obama Administration
There’s been some confusion this morning regarding my position on BP and the oil spill.
Having had some time to think about it, the caller and I shouldn’t have used the term “slush fund”; that was incorrect.
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. 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. Every party involved should be held fully accountable.
Angle’s rapid walk-back on this mirrors the same path followed by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who apologized to BP for the creation of the fund. Barton was forced by GOP leadership to retract his statements that same day. Of course, the curious thing here is that Barton’s comments happened three weeks ago — so Angle really should have had enough time to learn from this prior example.
Late Update: The Reid campaign released this statement in response:
LAS VEGAS - Following the remarks of Republican Sharron Angle that the $20 billion BP escrow account was a “slush fund” and that the Obama Administration “shouldn’t be doing that to a private company,” Reid campaign communications director Kelly Steele issued the following statement:
“This pitiful attempt by Sharron Angle’s new DC handlers to back off her warm embrace of BP contradicts a record of consistently siding with big oil and against the victims of the tragedy in the Gulf. Since more than a month into the spill, Angle’s has consistently advocated further deregulation and less oversight of big oil, and she has also explicitly opposed lifting liability caps on BP.
“Angle’s anti-government rants are entirely consistent with her opposition to the $20 billion escrow account - a fund designed explicitly to prevent taxpayer bailouts and make BP clean up their own mess - as well as her position that we should dismantle the EPA in the middle of the worst environmental disaster in American history.