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ABC's Tapper: White House Hails A 'Good Week' After 'Gift' From Joe Barton

On Friday's Good Morning America on ABC, White House correspondent Jake Tapper described White House reaction to Republican Congressman Joe Barton calling BP's $20 billion escrow fund the result of a government "shakedown": "...the argument they're making, that the Republican Party is too close to corporate America.....And they've been given this great foil by Joe Barton."

When co-host George Stephanopoulos wondered if the Obama administration was at all concerned about being seen as anti-business, Tapper recited the White House spin: "...they say, at the end of the day, there were inequities throughout the Bush years and they need to correct those inequities. It was the wild west. And they'd rather be on their side, taking on corporate America, than on the Republican side, in their view, defending it."

Later, Tapper concluded: "...they think it was a good week. The President's trip down to the Gulf, the speech, the $20 billion escrow fund and then this gift from Joe Barton....they feel like they had a good week. Perhaps their first good week since this crisis began."

At the top of the show, co-host Robin Roberts described the "political firestorm" surrounding BP CEO Tony Hayward's Thursday testimony on Capitol Hill and Barton's comments. Later, Stephanopoulos argued that the "beating" Hayward got by members of Congress was "overwhelmed" by Barton. In a report that followed, correspondent Jonathan Karl declared: "Hayward did find one friend on Capitol Hill, Republican Joe Barton."

Turning to Tapper, Stephanopoulos began by noting how Democrats "pounced" on Barton. Tapper quoted a tweet from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: "He said, 'Who would the GOP put in charge of overseeing the energy industry and big oil if they won control of Congress? Yup. You guessed it, Joe Barton.'"

Here is a full transcript of the June 18 Stephanopoulos and Tapper exchange:

7:08AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's go to Jake Tapper at the White House. And Jake, they just pounced yesterday when they heard that apology.

JAKE TAPPER: That's exactly right. Vice President Biden made comments. And then take a look at this tweet from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. He said, 'Who would the GOP put in charge of overseeing the energy industry and big oil if they won control of Congress? Yup. You guessed it, Joe Barton.' And that's the argument they're making, that the Republican Party is too close to corporate America, corporations throughout the world, like BP. And they've been given this great foil by Joe Barton.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are they concerned at all about the argument that the White House is overstepping its bounds? That the President is just viscerally anti-business, which you've heard from many Republicans.

TAPPER: Well, a senior White House official I spoke to said that they - they're careful to walk the line and not be anti-business, they invite businesses to be part of discussions. But they say, at the end of the day, there were inequities throughout the Bush years and they need to correct those inequities. It was the wild west. And they'd rather be on their side, taking on corporate America, than on the Republican side, in their view, defending it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jake, how about the Left? You know, I think the White House was hoping - they kept calling the speech the President gave on Tuesday night an 'inflection point,' that it would be a turning point for the President. Yet, they were met by a chorus of criticism, not only by - from conservatives, but also liberals. Concerned by that at all?

TAPPER: They are concerned by that. But they think it was a good week. The President's trip down to the Gulf, the speech, the $20 billion escrow fund and then this gift from Joe Barton, which has really been a lightning rod for the Left, far more than the White House. So I think they feel like they had a good week. Perhaps their first good week since this crisis began.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're going to have a chance to put a lot of these questions in a big exclusive on Sunday.

TAPPER: That's right, we have an exclusive with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. So we'll talk to him on Sunday. And then we've got a great roundtable, as well, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Jake, we're looking forward to that.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.