CNN's Schneider: Someone to Blame for Gas Prices, How About the GOP?

Count CNN’s Bill Schneider among those in the media who are all too eager to stoke the public’s anger over rising gas prices. In a report this afternoon on The Situation Room, Schneider highlighted the President’s low approval ratings on gas prices, and predicted gloom and doom for the Republican party: 

Schneider: "President Bush’s job approval is down to 33 percent in the latest CBS News poll. His approval rating on gas prices, 17 percent. Yikes!..The political impact is dramatic. In January, about equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats said they felt more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. Now, Democrats have a clear edge. Republican voters seem to be demoralized."

Schneider then promoted Democratic conspiracy theories regarding Republicans and the business sector:

Senator Dick Durbin: "Isn’t it curious, as you drive around your hometown, that all the prices on all the pumps seem to go up at the same time and come down at the same time?"

Schneider: "The public’s instinctive reaction is that somebody’s up to no good. They see evidence of that...Somebody’s to blame. Democrats seem to get that. Republicans don’t. Maybe people think because Republicans get more money from business, maybe because the President and Vice President are oilmen, whatever. But when the public is asked, which party is more likely to see to it that gas prices are low, they pick the Democratic party over the Republican party by better than two to one."

A full transcript of the report follows:

Wolf Blitzer: "If there were a political misery index, gas prices just might soar to the top for President Bush and his fellow Republicans. Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider is crunching some brand new poll numbers. What’s going on, Bill?"

Bill Schneider: "Well, Wolf, Hurricane Katrina was a disaster, and so are gas prices. But gas prices are having a much bigger political impact. Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster. Gas prices are an unnatural disaster, which is why the issue of gas prices has a much sharper political edge. President Bush’s job approval is down to 33 percent in the latest CBS News poll. His approval rating on gas prices, 17 percent. Yikes! Many Republicans say it’s a problem of supply and demand."

Senator Jon Kyl: "Why has crude oil price gone up? Because the demand has exceeded the supply."

Schneider: "So what’s the solution?"

Senator Bill Frist: "We need to increase domestic supplies, supply right here at home, and we need to diversify our energy sources."

Schneider: "That gets you an A in economics and an F in politics, because Americans do not see the sudden rise in gas prices as some kind of natural disaster, like a hurricane."

Senator Dick Durbin: "Isn’t it curious, as you drive around your hometown, that all the prices on all the pumps seem to go up at the same time and come down at the same time?"

Schneider: "The public’s instinctive reaction is that somebody’s up to no good. They see evidence of that."

Senator Jeff Bingaman: "Consumers are confused and angry as to why these prices are occurring now. Their anger is stoked by reports of the high salaries and retirement packages being handed out to executives."

Schneider: "Somebody’s to blame. Democrats seem to get that. Republicans don’t. Maybe people think because Republicans get more money from business, maybe because the President and Vice President are oilmen, whatever. But when the public is asked, which party is more likely to see to it that gas prices are low, they pick the Democratic party over the Republican party by better than two to one. The political impact is dramatic. In January, about equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats said they felt more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. Now, Democrats have a clear edge. Republican voters seem to be demoralized."

Blitzer: "We’ll see if Republicans can mobilize that base between now and November."