Just like he used TARP as an opportunity to cater to the populist, anti-business sentiment by publicly berating bankers, Obama has seized upon the Deep Water Horizon tragedy to look like he "kicked ass" by calling in BP execs and extorting $20 billion from the company even as the spill, the damage and the confusion continue virtually unabated.
Of course, Rep. Barton was absolutely crucified for apologizing to a BP exec for Obama's Gestapo tactics. Indeed, with the administration's help. BP and its management have become so demonized that anything that even gets close to rational discussion of the situation is enough to get you tarred and feathered. Though Rep. Barton's original message certainly could have and should have been clearer, and he shouldn't have offered the lame apology, his point definitely is valid. It WAS a shakedown, pure and simple.
Obama politics as usual.
Great article on it here