Bush Press Conference: ANWR And Economic "Magic Wands"

During his nonsensical press conference today, President Bush argued that the best way to help the struggling economy and the staggering price of gas

During his nonsensical press conference today, President Bush argued that the best way to help the struggling economy and the staggering price of gas was to either start drilling immediately in ANWR or to get him a magic wand.

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Somehow if you mention ANWR it means you don't care about the environment. Well, I'm hoping now people, when they say "ANWR," means you don't care about the gasoline prices that people are paying.

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I think that if there was a magic wand, and say, okay, drop price, I'd do that.

The sad reality is that this President has done nothing over the past 8 years to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, leaving us beholden to the skyrocketing prices -- which are due in large part to the instability we have created in the Middle East. It's a truly vicious circle.

Imagine if we had invested a fraction of what we spent in Iraq on sustainable energy. Gasoline could be well on it's way to being a relic of the past instead of one of the primary causes of the current recession. Considering both Bush and Cheney's extensive ties to the oil industry, I guess this shouldn't come as a big surprise.

Full transcript below the fold:

WhiteHouse.gov:

Q Mr. President, you have spoken today about opening ANWR for drilling and also refineries. But these are clearly long-term solutions to the problem of rising gas prices. What can you tell Americans about what your administration is doing in the short term? And secondly, have you been briefed on tomorrow's GDP numbers, and are you concerned --

THE PRESIDENT: No, I haven't been.

Q Okay -- and are you concerned that they will show us to officially be in a recession?

THE PRESIDENT: I think they'll show that we're -- it's a very slow economy. I can't guess what the number will be, and I haven't been shown, truly.

And by the way, opening up ANWR is not long term, it's intermediate term. But it sends a clear signal, is what it does. It sends a clear signal to the markets that the United States is not going to restrict exploration; the United States is going to encourage exploration.


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And in the meantime we have done, increasing CAFTA, for example. But the market is going to do as much for encouraging conservation as anything else is now. And so I firmly believe that -- you know, if there was a magic wand to wave, I'd be waving it, of course. I strongly believe it's in our interest that we reduce gas prices, gasoline prices. I mean, it would be like a major tax cut for people. And --

Q But what --

THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish, please, Sheryl. Strike one on the exclusive. (Laughter.) Excuse me, strike two. (Laughter.)

That -- you made me lose my train of thought, of course -- maybe that's what you were attempting to do. No, I think that if there was a magic wand, and say, okay, drop price, I'd do that. And so part of this is to make -- set the psychology right that says to the world, we're not going to become more beholden on your oil, we're going to open up and be aggressive and have an aggressive energy policy. Secondly, we're going to send the signal we're going to be building new refineries.

But there is no magic wand to wave right now. It took us a while to get to this fix. That's why I told you that if Congress had responded -- matter of fact, Congress did pass ANWR in the late 1900s -- 1990s -- and the 1900s -- (laughter) -- 1990s. But it didn't go forward. And it's my considered judgment, given the technological advances, to say this is -- we'll destroy the environment is just -- I don't think it's an accurate statement.

And so I think it's very important, Sheryl, for Congress. The other thing Congress can do, if you want to send a good signal during these uncertain times, is make the tax cuts permanent, is to let people -- send the signal that people are going to be able to keep their money. And I think that will help the psychology of the country.

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