British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward: A Sock Puppet in Washington

British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward, a sock puppet in Washington. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Hayward appeared shaky and shaken.


REP. JOHN DINGELL, D-MICH.: Could you tell us how much money BP saved by not using the proper number of centralizers?

TONY HAYWARD: I'm afraid I can't recall that.

DINGELL: Would you submit that for the record? How much time was saved?

HAYWARD: And I don't recall that either, I'm afraid.


Meantime, Congressman John Sullivan pointed out that while Exxon Mobil had just one safety violation in the recent past, BP had 760. Again, Hayward had no answer. In fact, the CEO pretty much dodged all specific questions leading the chairman of the subcommittee to say this:


REP. HENRY WAXMAN, D-CALIF.: I'm just amazed at this testimony, Mr. Hayward. You're not taking responsibility. You're kicking the can down the road and acting as if you have nothing to do with this company and nothing to do with the decisions. I find that irresponsible.


While the scorn of BP came from both parties, some conservatives were sympathetic:


REP. JOE BARTON, R-TEXAS: I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.


Well, afterward, Mr. Barton clarified his remarks, saying he wants to hold BP responsible, but there's no question that some on the right do not like President Obama's strong-arming the oil giant:


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Private companies need to be held accountable, but not necessarily to the executive branch. It seems to me there's a misreading of the constitution and a misunderstanding of jurisdictional limits from this White House on what the extent of executive power is. They don't seem to understand that. And it now seems that it's all about extortion.


Well, Ms. Bachmann is referring to the fact that BP has been coerced by the president to put up at least $20 billion in a fund to benefit those hurt by BP's dereliction. And "Talking Points" believes the corporation was derelict. The questioning today pointed out that BP ignored warnings about the now destroyed deep water well and may have done so to save money.

It is the job of the federal government to protect the American people. In this case, the Feds did not monitor BP closely enough. But that's history. Now the important thing is to clean up the Gulf and to help folks who have been harmed by the spill. BP should pay for all of that. All of it. And Mr. Obama was correct in bringing pressure on the company to pony up the money. I don't really care how the president did it. I'm happy there's $20 billion in play and more to come. And we will watch that money to make sure it gets to the right people and places.

Politics aside, this whole thing is BP's fault. Hayward would be smart to just admit that and take his lumps. And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Pinheads & Patriots starring "Baby Gaga," or something like that.




All right. Now that unidentified Brazilian kid is a star on the Net and I think he's a patriot, as are most babies, you know, a little rhythm, what can you do.

On the pinhead front, no we don't have any tonight. We have another patriot 10-year-old Jack Cavett broke the Guinness Book of World Records for wearing the most underpants ever. 30 pounds of support. 215 pairs of underpants. Jack looks thrilled, doesn't he?

But Jack is giving any money he derives from his big win to wounded marines. Jack singer is the pride of Warwick, New York.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on Send your comments to:

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly