As Jay wrote a few weeks ago, Sharron Angle has quickly become Harry Reid’s biggest asset. Whether she’s threatening to sue Reid for posting her own political positions, ducking the press like the plague or forcing her staff to assure folks that no, she’s not in favor of armed revolution, Angle’s candidacy has underlined the political dangers of the Tea Party’s quest for ideological purity.
Yesterday Angle wedged her foot in her mouth again. During an appearance on a Las Vegas radio show, she called BP’s $20 billion escrow account for oil spill victims a “slush fund” and chided President Obama for bullying private industry. “Government shouldn’t be doing that to a private company,” she said.
Angle has now posted a clarification on her website. “Having had some time to think about it, the caller and I shouldn’t have used the term “slush fund”; that was incorrect,” she writes. “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.”
This is sensible boilerplate, but it doesn’t address the gaffe itself. For Democrats, she’s become Joe Barton in a pants suit. For Reid, she may be a lifeline.
*Updated, 5:45 PM:
This afternoon Reid’s campaign issued a statement on Angle’s remarks. “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,” said Kelly Steele, Reid’s communications director on Reid’s campaign. “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.”