ABC's Gibson touts Bush's "new" call to reduce oil dependence, ignores similar calls in previous four addresses

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

On Good Morning America, Charles Gibson characterized as "new" President Bush's call, in his January 31 State of the Union address, to end dependence on foreign oil. However, in every prior State of the Union address since 2002, Bush called on Congress to pass his energy proposal, saying the United States needed to reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy.

On the February 1 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Charles Gibson characterized as "new" President Bush's call, in his January 31 State of the Union address, to end America's dependence on foreign oil. Gibson stated that "if there was anything new in the speech, it was his [Bush's] call for an end to America's addiction with foreign oil, a calling for a reduction on America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil of 75 percent in 20 years." However, in every prior State of the Union address since 2002, Bush called on Congress to pass his energy proposal, saying the United States needed to reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy. Bush signed that plan into law in August 2005.

Nonetheless, some analysts have concluded that Bush's energy plan will do nothing to decrease oil dependency.

During his January 31 address, Bush asserted that "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. ... Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

But, contrary to Gibson's suggestion, Bush's statement was by no means his first reference -- in a State of the Union address -- to a need to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

From Bush's February 2, 2005, State of the Union address:

Four years of debate is enough: I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.

From Bush's January 20, 2004, State of the Union address:

Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

From Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address:

Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment ... A single chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car -- producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.

Join me in this important innovation to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

From Bush's January 29, 2002, State of the Union address:

Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.

The Washington Post reported on July 30, 2005, that the final version of the 2005 energy bill "includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy -- including oil and gas," and, at the same time, that "[e]co-friendly measures to tighten fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles and take a stand against global warming were deleted as well." In his January 22 Los Angeles Times column, national political correspondent Ronald Brownstein echoed the Post's analysis, noting:

The federal Energy Information Administration [EIA], in its most recent long-range projection, estimated that market pressures would increase automotive fuel efficiency only modestly over the next quarter-century. As a result, the EIA projects that by 2030, the U.S. will import 62% of its oil, up from 58% now. That means another generation of subsidizing -- and remaining vulnerable to -- regimes that threaten our security.

That's why the energy bill Bush pushed through Congress last summer was such a disappointment. Tilted mostly toward subsidizing domestic producers, the legislation contained some incentives for efficiency. But it also extended a legal loophole that allows automakers to claim greater fuel economy than they achieve. The net result, according to calculations by the nonpartisan Alliance to Save Energy, is that the bill will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by a grand total of: nothing. Zip. Zero.

Moreover, as the weblog Think Progress noted, EIA data illustrates that 66 percent of oil consumed in the United States originates from foreign sources, up from 58 percent in 2000, the year before Bush took office.

From the February 1 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

GIBSON: if there was anything new in the speech, it was his call for an end to America's addiction with foreign oil, calling for a reduction on America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil, 75 percent in 20 years.

Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Charlie Gibson
Show/Publication
Good Morning America
Stories/Interests
2006 State of the Union, State of the Union Addresses
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