After President George W. Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that he had “offered no new ideas for a range of economic worries now facing the country, from record gas prices and soaring food costs to rising inflation, layoffs and home foreclosures.” Instead, Bush blamed the Democrats in Congress for not acting on his earlier proposals.
“These are difficult times. And the American people know it and they want to know whether or not Congress knows it,” Bush said. “I believe that they’re letting the American people down, is what I believe.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann took on the task of fact-checking Bush’s statements, beginning with his claim that “last year I called on Congress to pass legislation that would help address problems in the housing market.”
“In fact,” Olbermann commented, “his administration turned a blind eye when investment banks began buying risky mortgages and began trading them in ways intended to disguise their risk. Even today, Mr. Bush opposes … more regulation. … And those bills Congress did not pass — they have been held up in the Senate by Republicans.”
However, Bush’s strongest focus was on the rising cost of energy. “Mostly today it was oil that the world’s most powerful failed oilman had in mind,” Olbermann reported, “again blaming Congress, again lusting after Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
Bush asserted that drilling in ANWR would produce “a million additional barrels of oil every day,” which “would likely mean lower gas prices.”
“A few years ago,” noted Olbermann, “the Energy Information Adminstration considered the impact of drilling in ANWR and said that gasoline prices would go down — by one cent per gallon, by the year 2025.”
Bush also claimed that Congress has kept oil prices high by blocking the construction of new refineries, but Olbermann pointed out that “American refineries are only at 85% of capacity.”
“Congress ignored Mr. Bush’s request to use old military bases as refineries,” Olbermann explained, “because oil companies don’t want to — because the silly military didn’t build them near pipelines.”
“American oil executives have increased refining capacity by expanding existing refineries,” Olbermann concluded, “and when top officials at the five biggest companies testified this month about whether they want new refineries, all of them said no. They made record profits anyway.”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast April 29, 2008.