CAROL COSTELLO: For cash-strapped consumers, any reduction in gas prices would be like, well, like Santa coming into town early—or so it seemed on the stump.
View video here.
Cut to clip of Hillary and McCain discussing their her gas-tax holiday proposals.
COSTELLO: Ah, that sounds nice. But, Santa aside, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Those federal highway taxes pay for things like road construction and bridge repair, something that was really important just last year, when the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, killing 13 people [Hint, hint]. Politicians were singing a different tune, then.
Cut to clip of Hillary at that time, saying she wants to make modernizing infrastructure a priority.
COSTELLO: Clinton now suggests taxing oil companies to make up for the money lost to her proposed holiday gas tax. But would that make up the shortfall? According to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, both Clinton and McCain's idea would drain the federal highway fund by $3 billion per month, creating a $12 billion shortfall. Not only that, but it would put at risk 310,750 highway construction jobs. Many experts think it's all just politics.
Cut to clip of Steve Buckstein of the Cascade Policy Institute.
STEVE BUCKSTEIN: In this case, I think it's unfortunately more of a political gimmick. It won't really lower the cost to drivers significantly. It will increase the deficit in the highway trust fund and just lead to more politicizing of highway funding.
COSTELLO: Buckstein agrees with the only presidential candidate not in favor of a gas tax holiday—Barack Obama.
Cut to clip of Obama.
BARACK OBAMA: It's an idea that some economists think might actually raise gas prices, because folks will start using more gas and demand will go up.
COSTELLO: One more thing: to institute the holiday, a bill would have to pass through both house and Senate at lightning speed. Something not likely to happen by Memorial Day. And experts say there are a number of ways to save money on gas. An example? Change the traffic patterns to ease congestion. But that's not as sexy as a holiday gas tax.
Costello made no attempt to balance her report with comments from any supporter of Clinton's plan. All that was missing was the tag line: "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message."
Stylistic aside: someone might mention to Costello that it's possible to overdo the use of spoken italics. Check the video and note the frequency with which Carol stresses a word for dramatic effect.
Note: Since posting this item, I've learned that the segment in question was not new, but to the contrary has been in use by CNN for . . . five days! NewsBuster Matt Balan blogged on it last week. Isn't news supposed to be . . . new? Take it as a sign of how devoted CNN is to campaigning on Barack's behalf.