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Special Report

President's Push for Wind Power

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: In a decade, I want us to have cut by one-third the amount of oil that we imported when I was elected to this office. I want to cut our energy imports by a third.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LOUISIANA: I don't think the president's position on oil and gas is as strong as it should be. Oil and gas is an important industry in the United States today, and it will be for the next decades and the foreseeable future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The president talking energy today. And there you see someone in his own party criticizing the energy policy.

Here's a comparison, the price of oil per barrel when president Obama took office, $39 a barrel to $109 roughly a barrel today. And gas costs about $1.85. Now it's $3.70 roughly on average a gallon. What about this? We're back with the panel. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well we know what the president's energy policy is -- drill in Brazil and windmills. Ya know, he was over in Latin America a couple of weeks ago and he was all enthusiastic for offshore drilling in Brazil. He is against it here, he's had all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles stopping the giving of permits. We already had oil drillers who've left the Gulf, headed off to West Africa. And he says we're going to be a great customer of Brazilian oil, which will be a wonderful addition to our balance of payments deficit.

And we know he is enthusiastic on windmills. He was over at a factory, actually, which is owned by Spaniards today. Windmills are nice but they are not going to amount to anything in terms of our overall energy needs for at least ten, 15, 20 years at the best.

And incidentally, if you care about the wildlife, every time you have an oil spill there's always a photograph of a bird with oil on it, elicits our sympathy. Windmills kill about half a million birds a year and you don't get any publicity on that. It isn't exactly the friendliest of energy sources if you fly. So I'm not sure that he has a policy that anybody will believe increases our oil production or decreases our dependence on oil.

BAIER: Juan, first of all let's get it out of the way, the president went to this plant today, Gamesa, they are headquartered in Spain. The White House said they do create jobs here in America. But it was a PR issue for the White House that he went to this place that was a Spanish company and there are windmill, wind turbine companies here in the U.S. that said, why send that message? Any problem?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: I don't have a problem, as long as it's creating jobs for Americans. I think that's the number one priority.

BAIER: Secondly, the president's energy policy's getting attacked from a number of different sides now.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think everybody is concerned about it because the price of gas is going up. So, even in the White House, they are very sensitive to this issue. And they're telling people you know what, we are taking steps to try to pump up production coming from the Middle East to try to hold down prices. They don't want these things skyrocketing because it's politically explosive.

But in terms of what the birdman here had to say -- I'm so charmed that you're concerned about birds in the springtime, Charles.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: That was very sweet of you. Anything to bash Obama.

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't want the see them chopped.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know, I know, right. But let me just say that, what you've got here, I think you do need America to have some kind of reasonable forward-looking energy policy. And the reason that we would go to Brazil, Charles, is, you know what, we don't want to be dependent on Middle Eastern oil. We want to have friends who produce oil and sell it to us. And secondly, we want to lower our dependence on oil, and we should be looking to alternative oil. There is nothing wrong with that.

BAIER: Well --

KRAUTHAMMER: What is wrong with drilling in the Gulf off the Atlantic coast?

WILLIAMS: Nothing's wrong with drilling in the Gulf as long as BP doesn't spill it all over everybody and ruin the economy for us all.

(CROSSTALK)

KRAUTHAMMER: -- off Alaska and in ANWR in the wildlife -

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Well, now you come to environmental concerns. But I'm saying --

KRAUTHAMMER: That's why I care about the birds.

WILLIAMS: -- you make it out like president Obama doesn't want to drill at all. And I just don't think that's true.

KRAUTHAMMER: Democrats have stopped all of this for 30 years. It's not Obama. It's not new. It's the left of the party that has prevented any allowance of drilling. In the Clinton administration and now --

WILLIAMS: What was BP doing?

BAIER: OK, Steve, why don't you weigh in?

(LAUGHTER)

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I'll jump in. There's a pretty easy solution, actually and it's opening up the outer continental shelf for drilling, it's exploration of ANWR. There are things that have been put forth in legislation by members of both party, that would address short-term energy needs.

And the administration, I think, faces real political problems because of the perception that the president is out, you know, talking up windmills. He is taking test drives in a Chevy Volt. He is doing all of these things that seem to show his disconnect with what is actually happening with oil prices --

People may understand, look it may be a good argument that in ten, 15, 20, 30 years, wind turbines will be a real source of energy in the United States. It's not happening in six months. It's not happening in two years. And as long as the president is out there making this pitch -- and think about the number of times he has done these kind of photo ops. I mean this is not like a one-time thing. He is doing these like weekly.

I think if Barack Obama loses in 2012, the day after the election, you're going to have newspaper articles looking back on what he was doing now at this time on wind turbines, on Chevy Volts and people are gonna say, this guy was out of touch.

BAIER: That is it for panel. But stay tuned to see agreement across the board on one issue.

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