Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked by CNN's Candy Crowley about whether or not their attempt to blame President Obama for rising gas prices was going to be successful, given recent polling showing that Americans primarily blamed the oil companies for the problem and the fact that Americans blamed the GOP by only three fewer percentage points than they did the president.
When McConnell responded by taking up for the oil companies and their subsidies, Crowley asked him if he thought those tax breaks were fair given their record profits and McConnell responded by accusing Crowley of "using all of the Democratic talking points" -- because that's generally what these guys do when they're trying to defend the indefensible. You go on the attack and accuse the interviewer of being biased.
Anyone who regularly watches Crowley's show on CNN knows full well whose talking points she's generally repeating, and they're not from the Democrats.
Transcript below the fold.
CROWLEY: A new CNN/ORC poll shows President Obama's job approval rating is over 50 percent for the first time since last June, but Americans are worried about rising gas prices, and in an election year when Americans worry, politicians act.
The president wants congress to end tax breaks for big oil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time they got by without more help from taxpayers, who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: It will never get by congressional Republicans.
Joining me from Louisville, Kentucky, senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Thank you, senator, for joining us.
I want to talk to you about gas prices. I know that you have suggested that this seems like a weird political move for the president to be making, that you don't think it will be popular. And I want to show our viewers a recent CNN/ORC poll, and it's about who do you blame for these gas prices? Oil companies, 55 percent, foreign countries 34 percent, the situation in Iran 28 percent.
And here's what I want to ask you about. President Obama's policies, 24 percent blame him for the rising gas prices. But 21 percent, just 3 percent fewer, blame Republicans.
So this does not look like a clear-cut case of a political blunder. A lot of people blame Republicans.
MCCONNELL: Well, why don't we just look at the facts, regardless of how polls may reflect about how people feel about the oil industry, which is not at all surprising. The Congressional Research Service, which is not a polling operation, but analyzes objectively legislation, says if you raise taxes on oil production, the price of the gas at the pump goes even higher. So this is an absurd suggestion when you've got $4 gasoline.
What the president ought to be doing is approving the Keystone pipeline. This is this massive private sector project that will bring energy down from our friendly neighbor, Canada, to the United States. He's blocking it. What he's got to do is increase public production on public land. Land in federal -- within the federal jurisdiction, production is down 14 percent.
He points, however, to increased production that he had nothing to do with. It's up 96 percent on state owned land and private land.
The president is simply standing in the way of increasing domestic production.
The American people know that it's absurd for the most energy rich country in the world to be locking up such a huge percentage of its resources.
CROWLEY: But, senator, just in terms of the fairness issue, which is very important to Americans and to politicians, one hopes, the oil companies are making record profits, and yet taxpayers are paying for these loopholes for oil companies, which are basically tax breaks. And so just on the face of it, sir, it certainly does seem to a lot of Americans that people who are making record profits shouldn't be taking taxes that we're paying on April 15th, to get their tax breaks.
MCCONNELL: Well, you know, with all due respect, you're using all the Democratic talking points. And that's all quite interesting.
CROWLEY: Well, I use the Republican ones for a Democrat. So, you know.
MCCONNELL: All right.
But let me make the point again in case anybody missed it. The issue is the price of gas at the pump. If you raise taxes on the producers of gasoline, you drive the prices even higher. Does anyone think we need higher gas prices when they're already at $4 a gallon?
I mean, this is not the way to lower the price of gas at the pump. This is not so much about a diversion, about discussion of fairness. We do need to reform the whole tax code. We're in favor of that. It's been 25 years since we actually reformed the tax code. As of today, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. As of April 1st, the highest corporate tax rate in the world. And some people may think, gee, that's great. All that does is make our companies uncompetitive. And even the president himself has said we need to get a corporate tax rate down.
At the same time, he's trying to selectively raise taxes on some corporations, and to do that would drive the price of gas at the pump even higher. This is a terrible idea.