On Fox News' Special Report, Assistant Energy Secretary Alexander Karsner claimed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had "come around to embracing" President Bush's National Energy Policy, while guest anchor Jim Angle suggested that Clinton's proposed energy plan was "pretty close" to Bush's plan with the only "differences" being that Clinton's plan involves "meddling" with the free market. But neither Karsner nor Angle spelled out any of the significant differences between the competing proposals.
During the May 29 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Assistant Energy Secretary Alexander Karsner claimed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) had "come around to embracing" President Bush's National Energy Policy. Later on the program, Fox News chief Washington correspondent and guest anchor Jim Angle suggested that Clinton's proposed energy plan, which she announced during a May 23 speech at the National Press Club, was "pretty close" to the plan put forth by Bush with the only "differences" being that Clinton's plan involves "meddling" with the free market. But neither Karsner nor Angle spelled out any of the significant differences between the competing proposals, such as the fact that, in her plan, Clinton calls for a portion of oil company profits to be invested into the development of alternative energy sources.
The Washington Post noted on May 24 that Clinton, in her speech, "echoed what President Bush said in his State of the Union address earlier this year when he decried [the] nation's addiction to foreign oil, but her solutions went further." Clinton called for the creation of a Strategic Energy Fund, which would draw on two years' worth of excess profit taxes of major oil companies to fund research and development of alternative energy technologies; the companies would not be required to contribute to the fund if they elected to devote a percentage of their profits into biofuels, wind and solar power, or other forms of renewable energy. The tax would apply to oil company profits only above the baseline average of profits from 2000 through 2004.
Clinton also called for Bush to support the anti-price-gouging legislation Energy Emergency Consumer Protection Act of 2005, sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Congressional Republicans rejected an anti-price-gouging amendment -- which Bush also opposed -- in favor of a tax bill that was signed into law by Bush on May 17.
From the May 29 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, which also featured Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer and Nina Easton, Fortune magazine's Washington bureau chief:
ANGLE: Now, one of the problems is always when the price goes up, everybody gets all excited about this, runs around in circles with their hair on fire, and then the price goes down and everybody goes, "Oh thank goodness, it's over. I can go back to driving the way I was, the same car, all that sort of thing," without changing our habits. One, is it your sense now that the country really is embarked on a different road? And two, how big a role does conservation play in all that? About a minute left.
KARSNER: Well, I'm thrilled to see that Senator Clinton has actually come around to embracing the president's advanced energy initiative and his bold leadership that he put out in the State of the Union. The president and the administration intend to lead on this issue. For [Energy] Secretary [Samuel W.] Bodman, and those of us at the Department of Energy, this is a wartime issue, and so we deal with the sort of urgency of the fact that we shouldn't have people leveraging petroleum over our economic future. In the near term, we're going to increase efficiency and we're going to increase supply. Now that Senator Clinton is on board and many of the coastal, liberal Democrats that have traditionally been against heartland fuels and ethanol, I think we can make more rapid progress.
KRAUTHAMMER: What she has is a plan of unbelievable complexity that tinkers in the market and that, in the end, will go nowhere. Thirty years ago, people started talking about wind and solar as the sources of the future. Well, they always will be. I have heard about it for 30 years and my children, grandchildren will be hearing about it. So, I don't hold any hope here. If there's any hope, it's in drilling, in nuclear and in adjusting the price structure of oil, so that, as she said, when the price declines, it's artificially kept up so that entrepreneurs will look for new sources on their own, without a government intervention.
ANGLE: Nina, what do you make of this whole thing?
EASTON: Well, I have to say -- this whole kind of idea that Hillary Clinton is kind of Johnny-come-lately to this issue -- I covered a speech of hers where she was talking about energy last fall. [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] made it a piece of his campaign in 2004. You may think it's the nanny state but they were addressing this issue well before the Bush administration, which, by the way, you know, put together this energy bill that was very, very much focused on tax breaks for the oil industry, was not focused on conservation. Now, they've discovered conservation. And a lot of the ideas that she proposed were similar to Bush -- Bush's proposals -- the hybrid vehicles and so on. So, I do think that this sort of Johnny-come-lately to all this is the Bush administration, and to your question of how long is this going to take? It's going to take a long time and it's too bad it wasn't addressed you know five -- four or five or six years ago.
ANGLE: It does seem that the administration and the Democrats, if you take into account Hillary Clinton's views, are pretty close on this. I mean, there are some differences, in the way Charles is talking about in meddling things, but in terms of the goals, in terms of the fuels that people are looking at, ethanol for instance, they seem to be headed in the same direction.