DNC UNVEILS BARTON AD…. It was only a matter of time before the Democratic National Committee went after Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) apology to BP in a television ad. Indeed, I suspect there will be multiple spots as the campaign season progresses.

But the first such ad was launched today, and I don’t imagine Republicans will like it. For those of you who can’t watch video clips from your work computers, the spot features a voiceover saying, “BP caused the worst oil spill in American history. Now, at President Obama’s direction, BP’s set aside $20 billion for recovery on the Gulf coast. But if Republicans were in charge, this is the guy who’d be overseeing BP.”

The ad then shows Barton apologizing to BP’s Tony Hayward. “He apologized to BP and called the recovery fund a ‘tragedy.’” Again, Barton is shown apologizing.

“Republicans apologizing to BP?” the ad concludes. “Tell Republicans: Stop apologizing to big oil.”

Notice, the spot doesn’t mention Barton by name, which makes sense — no one outside his district necessarily knows who he is. Instead, the DNC is counting on yesterday’s controversy being well known in its own right. Voters may not know Joe Barton, but they (hopefully) know that a key Republican issued a groveling apology to the foreign company responsible for the biggest environmental catastrophe in American history.

The commercial is set to begin airing on MSNBC and CNN.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

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.