NBC's Lauer Urges Exxon Mobil CEO to Bash Gingrich Plan to Lower Gas Prices

In an interview with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson aired on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pushed the oil company executive to reject a plan by Newt Gingrich to lower the price of gas: "Newt Gingrich is promising Americans that he can deliver gasoline at $2.50 a gallon. Is he being truthful with the American public, in your opinion?"

Tillerson responded: "Well, I haven't seen his specific plan for doing that. I guess the thing that might concern me would be, would you be taking some short-term action simply to achieve a short-term result that could, in fact, be very detrimental to the longer term security of energy, moderate pricing of energy for the country?"

Lauer didn't let the matter drop, pressing further: "I'm actually surprised that you say you haven't seen the specifics of his plan, because as CEO of the world's largest oil company, when you're talking about a guy who could be president of the United States and have dramatic impact on policy, why wouldn't you take the time and really dive into that program?"

Tillerson reiterated: "Well, I just haven't seen it, Matt. I've not seen his plan for getting gas prices to $2.50."

At the top of the show, co-host Ann Curry hailed the possibility of the economy "bouncing back," but fretted over high gas prices: "Could that derail the recovery?" Moments later, she declared that the "celebration" over good economic news "could be muted by concerns over gas prices."


Here is a portion of Lauer's March 9 exchange with Tillerson:

7:11AM ET

(...)

LAUER: As we sit here and we – and we talk, Mr. Tillerson, it's a political year. Alright, there's an election coming up in November. And one of the candidates on the Republican side, Newt Gingrich, is promising Americans that he can deliver gasoline at $2.50 a gallon. Is he being truthful with the American public, in your opinion?

TILLERSON: Well, I haven't seen his specific plan for doing that. I guess the thing that might concern me would be, would you be taking some short-term action simply to achieve a short-term result that could, in fact, be very detrimental to the longer term security of energy, moderate pricing of energy for the country? And so, I would – I would be cautious about dramatic actions to get it near term.

LAUER: I'm actually surprised that you say you haven't seen the specifics of his plan, because as CEO of the world's largest oil company, when you're talking about a guy who could be president of the United States and have dramatic impact on policy, why wouldn't you take the time and really dive into that program?

TILLERSON: Well, I just haven't seen it, Matt. I've not seen his plan for getting gas prices to $2.50.

LAUER: One of the things he's calling for is open everything up, everything for exploration and drilling, and that's going to, just the even thought of that, that all that oil might be available, would bring prices down.
    
TILLERSON: Well, I've never taken myself to the business of trying to predict prices. What I think's important in developing our own natural resources is to know that we do influence that market by having supplies that are stable, that are not subject to geopolitical interruption. The revenues are staying here, the taxes that are generated are staying here, and very importantly, the jobs that are created are staying here.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC