BARTON REGRETS ‘MISCONSTRUCTION’…. After his public apology to BP’s chief executive, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) was going to have to say something else on the matter. Democrats have been using him as a pinata this afternoon, and some Republicans have stated their dissatisfaction with the right-wing Texan.

About a half-hour ago, Barton kinda sorta walked back his remarks.

Just now, Rep. Joe Barton took a point of “personal privilege” to clarify his much discussed remarks this morning to BP CEO Tony Hayward.

“I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible,” Barton said, before adding that he also thinks the company should pay for costs of the spill. “If anything I have said this morning has been misconstrued to an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction,” he added.

That’s not much of an apology, and it certainly won’t help in ending the criticism. Indeed, it’s one of those typical insincere apologies in which the one who screwed up is sorry if we misunderstood him — as if we’re to blame for his mistake.

It’s going to take a lot more than this to make up for Barton groveling to the CEO of a foreign company responsible for the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

Van Jones was on MSNBC this afternoon and said Democrats are looking to “kick some ass” when it comes to BP, while Republicans are looking to “kiss some ass.”

A half-hearted walk-back about a “misconstruction” won’t make this go away.

Update: In a written statement, Barton went further: “I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.