Interviews

Gas Prices Are Soaring, So Why Aren't Americans Cutting Back on Consumption?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 24, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, two situations to tell you about. First, a 42-year-old Long Island woman, Karen Fisher, mother of two, killed a Catholic priest while driving drunk. This is the third time Fisher has been arrested for drunk driving! Why was she in the car?

And gas prices are at an all-time high, about $3 a gallon. But Americans have not cut back their driving.

Joining us now to talk about it, FOX News analyst Kirsten Powers here in New York, and in Washington, Michelle Malkin.

Michelle, you know, I put — I put a tail on you, Michelle. You're not cutting back your driving. You've got that SUV. You're whipping around there. You're not cutting back. And why? Why aren't Americans cutting back?

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look. I think it's human nature. And people are not going to take mass transportation. It's unreliable. It's the summertime.

And if you are going to try and change the behavior of mothers all across this country who have got young kids, that they've got to pack into SUVs and minivans to take them to the pool, you're not going to convince them that they should cram those kids into a Prius to get this country, the gas prices down. That's not going to happen!

O'REILLY: I don't want to — I don't want to cram anybody anywhere, particularly your children, Michelle. You would kick the living day lights out of me if I cram your children anywhere.

(LAUGHTER)

But let's — come, let's be realistic. All of us could cut back 10 percent on our energy consumption -- cutting back on gasoline, what we use in the house. We could do it. But we don't. We choose not to do it, which helps the terrorists, Michelle. It helps them. So I don't understand why this isn't getting through.

MALKIN: Well, I will tell you what is helping the terrorists. I think Democratic obstruction on more practical solutions, which includes getting this country more independent, energy independent.

And the House has passed legislation to drill in ANWR -- the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 10 times, and it has not gotten through the Senate. And you know, we need to find more sources of natural gas and oil in this country. Nobody wants to do it.

O'REILLY: But don't you think it's both parties, though? I mean, we can have ethanol. It would solve a lot of our problems. But don't you think it's like ethanol?

MALKIN: No, I think it's a bogus solution.

O'REILLY: So that means that all the people driving around Brazil using ethanol right this minute, they're all a phantom? Or they're — they're driving, Michelle. Putting ethanol in the car. It's working. Less pollution.

MALKIN: Well, we've got plenty of ethanol subsidies, and it still hasn't solved the problem.

O'REILLY: But in Brazil, they did it, see? Here, because of the oil companies and the car companies, we've blocked it. Almost like you're saying in ANWR, it's a parallel situation. Anyway, I think both are to blame. How do you see it?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the Republicans love the oil companies and the oil business. No, no, no, no. Let me...

O'REILLY: Clinton-Gore, were they Republicans? Because they were there for eight years.

POWERS: The fact of Michelle's response is, as with many Republicans, let's drill in ANWR and that's going to solve our problems. Now I'm actually not opposed to drilling there, but it's not going to solve the problem. We need to look at — we need to look at renewable forces. We need to look at other sources.

O'REILLY: Both parties are at fault. And Michelle, please write that down and memorize it. All right. Now, why aren't Americans cutting back?

POWERS: Because I think oil prices haven't reached a level yet that is going to make them cut back. They love to drive their cars, and they want to drive their cars, and they're going to cut back on other things.

O'REILLY: Even if buying all this oil helps the terrorists, helps Hugo Chavez?

POWERS: Yes. I don't think most Americans realize that, Bill.

O'REILLY: They don't realize. I have to go door to door.

POWERS: I think you do. I think you need to take it out on the road, because...

O'REILLY: How do you realize this?

POWERS: I just don't think most Americans are thinking about that. They're thinking how do I get my child to school, how do I get my child, you know, to day camp? They don't...

O'REILLY: Get 'em a bike!

POWERS: I think we need to agree to cut back on energy consumption. But I also think — we also don't hear a lot from President Bush. He told us we were addicted to oil. Yet he's not coming out and saying here is a practical way.

O'REILLY: All right. I've got to get to this other story.

Now, Michelle, you've got this 42-year-old mother who's obviously an alcoholic, and is, you know, constantly getting in trouble because she's driving. Last time she was arrested, she had two kids in the car. This time she kills a Catholic priest.

Now, if they prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law, she gets seven years in prison. That's what she could get. However, you take the mom away from the kids for that period of time. Would you do it?

MALKIN: Yes, she should have thought of that before she got into the car bombed and killed this priest. And you know, my sympathy lies with this parish in New York City that lost this loving, caring, wonderful man.

And the parish mourners have said that this priest, the first thing he would have done, if he had survived, is forgive her. But we have to talk about the court of law. And she had one too many chances. It is time that she pays the consequences.

O'REILLY: But the children now lose their mother in — for their childhood years. That's the consideration. I don't care about this woman at all. I care about the kids. They lose their mom.

MALKIN: Like I said, consequences. And hopefully, the family will care for those kids, and remind those children that the reason why they don't have a mother is because she didn't take responsibility for her actions.

O'REILLY: All right, Kirsten.

POWERS: Yes, I agree with Michelle. I'm always amazed, actually, at how lenient we are with people who commit crimes, DUI crimes, whether they just hit another person or whether they kill another person. This is a serious crime. What if she had shot the priest and killed him? We wouldn't be saying she has two little kids.

O'REILLY: Well, there's an intention, and then there isn't intention. You know that.

POWERS: Well, you get in your car drunk, and this is the third time she's done it.

O'REILLY: So you don't mind that the kids are going to lose their mother?

POWERS: No. I think it's a horrible tragedy, but I also think that we need to be more serious about the fact that people who get caught for drunk driving should be punished.

O'REILLY: So seven years is OK with you?

POWERS: Yes, if that's what the punishment is. And that's what it has to be.

O'REILLY: I'd send her away, too. But I'd do it with a heavy heart, because I know those kids are going to suffer tremendously. And this is ironic, because in the segment just before this one Hawaii has given a child molester five years for the third rap. And now this woman will get seven years for killing a priest if — if New York does what it should, and that's a big if.

Michelle, as always, Kirsten, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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