CNN’s Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina about oil companies "awash in record profits" on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room." The CNN host used ExxonMobil as an example five different times in his questioning. "...ExxonMobil has got these billions and billions of dollars in record profits. They can afford to not necessarily get additional tax cuts."
After Fiorina outlined McCain’s proposal to lower the federal business tax rate at the beginning of the segment, which began 14 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer took a persistent stance in asking if the reduction in taxes included "big oil." First, the CNN host asked, "Would that reduction of the tax rate also include, as Obama says, ExxonMobil and the other big oil companies, who are awash in record profits?"
Once Fiorina answered by making the point that Obama’s proposal "to levy a windfall profits tax against oil companies will only do two things for the American consumer -- limit supply and raise prices, neither of which is very good," Blitzer rephrased his original question: "So, in other words, is Obama right when he says, under a McCain administration, ExxonMobil would get additional tax breaks?"
When Fiorina stuck to her point that McCain wanted to "lower the tax rate on all businesses, so that it is more in their interests to put jobs here in the U.S.," Blitzer continued to focus on "big oil:" "But no exemption for big oil and the -- no exemption for big oil then?" After the McCain adviser said there would be no exemption and tried to defend her answer, Blitzer continued to stress his point:
BLITZER: I understand the need to cut your taxes if you want to compete globally, which is the point you're trying to make but...
FIORINA: Well, but Barack Obama doesn't understand that.
BLITZER: I'm sure he understands that. But he also says ExxonMobil has got these billions and billions of dollars in record profits. They can afford to not necessarily get additional tax cuts.
FIORINA: But that isn't what Barack Obama's proposing. What Barack Obama is proposing is to tax the profits of oil companies. That's a different proposal. And taxing the profits of oil companies would do two things -- it would raise the price of oil and it would lower the supply. So it's not a good proposal for the American consumer....
This isn’t the first time the CNN host has used this line of argument and questioning towards Fiorina on the subject of taxes and oil companies. About six weeks earlier, on May 1, Blitzer asked, "But what's wrong with a windfall profit tax? Exxon Mobil today announcing their first quarter profits almost $11 billion. They're raking it in right now.... What do you say? Why not do what Hillary Clinton says, tax them a little bit more? They can certainly afford it better than working-class people...."
Later, Blitzer asked Fiorina about another point of Obama’s, that the billions of dollars being spent on the Iraq war could be "invested in our roads and schools and bridges and started to rebuild America." Blitzer’s point: "You could do a lot of money with $12 billion -- you can do a lot of things with $12 billion a month."
After Fiorina responded that "there's no question that the Iraq war is costing a lot of money" and that "Barack Obama has proposed no plan for how he is going to get out of Iraq successfully without creating genocide," Blitzer followed up by asking, "The question is how much longer will the American taxpayers have to shell out $12 billion a month or $150 billion dollars a year or whatever it costs?"