Clueless Bob Schieffer Befuddled by Idea Team Obama Wants Higher Gas Prices: ‘What’s That About?’

Another example of how out of touch the Washington press corps is with what is common knowledge amongst conservatives. On Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer was flummoxed by Mitt Romney’s contention that Obama officials desire high gas prices: 

Mitt Romney said...that the President actually wanted gas prices to go up when he was running for President. He also said the President should fire his three top energy people because they were trying to get the price up. What’s that about?

Guest David Axelrod of the Obama campaign assured Schieffer: “Well, I think it’s about nonsense is what it's about.” Minutes later, when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pointed out “the President’s own energy czar said -- and this is undisputed -- that he wanted gas prices to go to European levels,” a clueless Schieffer talked over Priebus, demanding: “When did he say that?”

Of course, though CBS News didn’t bother to report it, during a House hearing on Tuesday, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu “walked back,” as Politico put it, his 2008 statement: “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Back in 2007, Barack Obama predicted “a lot of us are going to have to pay more per unit for electricity” to cover the higher cost of “green” energy production.
 

Audio: MP3 clip which matches three-part video mash up above

Schieffer did at least ask Axelrod: “Was it a mistake now in retrospect to stop that Keystone pipeline project? They were going to bring a pipeline to bring the oil down to the Gulf coast from Canada. That would put a lot of people to work amongst other things. Do you have regrets about not moving along with that?”

That very decision is evidence of why conservatives consider Obama himself, Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson all hostile to fossil fuels as all have enacted impediments to domestic drilling and production – all of which, over the long term, raises the price of energy.

When Schiefer pressed Priebus about “Axelrod’s assertion that it’s your fault that the Keystone thing got killed because you tried to force an early decision?” Priebus ridiculed the charge: “Well I think myself, and everyone in the studio, chuckled all about at the same time when he said that.”

From the Sunday, March 18 Face the Nation on CBS:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mitt Romney said, I think as late as yesterday, that the President actually wanted gas prices to go up when he was running for President. He also said the President should fire his three top energy people because they were trying to get the price up. What's that about?

DAVID AXELROD: Well, I think it’s about nonsense is what it's about. Obviously you heard the President four years ago. He wasn't advocating higher gas prices. Again we have to have a national strategy for getting control of our energy future. That involves persistence, not just in increasing domestic oil and gas production. We've freed up tens of millions of new acres for exploration and for oil production in the future. But we have to explore these other avenues. If we don't do all of those things we're going to be right back here again every election season and politicians like Mr. Romney will pander and the poor American consumer will be left in the same position. So we need to keep going forward with an "all of the above" strategy on energy.

SCHIEFFER: Was it a mistake now in retrospect to stop that Keystone pipeline project? They were going to bring a pipeline to bring the oil down to the Gulf coast from Canada. That would put a lot of people to work amongst other things. Do you have regrets about not moving along with that?

AXELROD: You should direct that question to Mr. Priebus and to the Republican leadership in the Congress because what they did was force a premature decision on this. The State Department said they needed more time to evaluate the project and all of its implications including what it would mean for the water aquefers in Nebraska. And the Congress wanted to force a decision for political reasons. And they did. So not having the time to make a proper decision, they had to decline this proposal....

...

REICE PIEIBUS: He’s defending a President that when gas prices were a dollar eighty-five a gallon when he took over and he defends the President’s position when the President’s own energy czar said -- and this is undisputed -- that he wanted gas prices to go to European levels-

SCHIEFFER: When did he say that?

PRIEBUS: It was years ago. So that we could be forced to drive, you know, battery-operated cars and scooters around. So, he's back-pedaled on that statement. But very quickly, the Obama administration’s finding itself in a whole lot of trouble because once again we've got a President who says one thing and then he does another. So in any event, I think that when it comes to gas prices this President has taken the country completely backwards and this idea that David Axelrod is spinning that now we’ve got record production, we’ve got record production because of the actions of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton years ago because it takes time. Well, this President shut down on-shore drilling, he shut down off-shore drilling, he shut down Keystone. And so now we’re sitting in a place where better off today than we were three years ago and we’ve got a President who is now back on the campaign trail again talking about an all of the above energy policy. It’s ridiculous.

SCHIEFFER: What about Mr. Axelrod’s assertion that it’s your fault that the Keystone thing got killed because you tried to force an early decision?

PRIEBUS: Well I think myself, and everyone in the studio, chuckled all about at the same time when he said that...

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center