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Eric Cantor's BP Complex

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor is walking a fine line between criticizing the president and defending BP in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

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Where does U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor stand on efforts to force oil giant BP to pay for damages caused by its disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill?

It depends on who's doing the spinning. The House of Representatives' minority whip from Henrico County is in a hot seat because he's the tip of the Republican spear expected to gain seats this fall amid growing public dissatisfaction with Democrats in the White House and Congress. But some people say it's politically risky for Cantor to defend gaffe-challenged BP.

When the White House announced last week that BP had agreed to form a $20 billion fund to help people hurt by the spill, Cantor was quoted as saying that he commended efforts to form the fund but that “the president has still not offered a fix to the problem.”

Meanwhile, a Democratic organization has attacked Cantor for being a member of the House Republican Study Committee, which has accused President Barack Obama of using “Chicago-style shakedown” muscle to force BP to form the fund. Cantor must decide how he comes down on the issue, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The economic impact of the spill is being felt in Virginia. Seafood operations in the state are being adversely affected because a large part of their business involves the Gulf, The Virginian-Pilot reports. Oyster-shucking companies in Urbanna and Hampton have been able to buy fewer Gulf oysters for processing and packaging while shrimp prices have shot up 20 percent in some Virginia stores.

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