Did Dan Seals Buy Votes With Cheap Gas?
This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: To Illinois, where a Democrat running for Congress is accused of buying votes with cheap gas. He says his political stunt, selling gas for $1.85 a gallon, brought attention to the election issue. His GOP opponent says that it bought votes, period, and wants a federal investigation.
Here now, the candidate under fire, Dan Seals.
Mr. Seals, you buy votes?
DAN SEALS (D), ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Of course not.
If anybody's vote has been bought, it has been my opponent. He has taken over $40,000 from oil companies, and has voted to subsidize them with taxpayer dollars to protect them from investigation.
I think we have a joke of an energy policy. And I what to see it changed. And I'm going to fight for that.
CAVUTO: All right. But you had to know that by offering people to get gas for $1.85, and you were trying to pay off the difference to make sure they got that, you were effectively paying for their vote.
SEALS: No, what we were doing was buying people gas and talking about energy policy.
• Video: Watch Neil's interview with Dan Seals
We've seen, actually, these events happen. Both Republicans and Democrats are doing this across the country. I mean, when you look at our energy policy, basically, we're borrowing from China to buy oil from Saudi Arabia. And I think that has got to change. So, I have been talking about what I think we should do with our energy policy. And we have been getting a lot of interest for it.
CAVUTO: No, I don't begrudge what you are trying to do here, but what would be the difference between giving them gas and just giving them money?
SEALS: Well, any time we go an event — and my opponent does this as well — if you go to a train station, you buy coffee for commuters. I think that's pretty standard practice.
Certainly, this one was more expensive. But, effectively, what it was doing was allowing us to talk about what needs to change with our energy policy. And that is what our focus is going to be.
CAVUTO: All right, now, what is the latest you're hearing from officials in the state that — where you might have crossed a very big line here?
SEALS: Absolutely nothing. We have seen this event. There was a Republican who did it in Indiana just last month. Absolutely nothing whatsoever.
What we have heard a lot about is how high the prices are. Here in Illinois, $1.85 was the price of gas when my opponent and the president went into office. It is over $4 here. And it is just ridiculous. We need to have a change. What I'm pulling for...
CAVUTO: But, you know, to be fair — your point is well taken, Dan, but, to be fair, when Democrats took over Congress a couple of years ago, and Nancy Pelosi stood outside the steps of the Capitol and said, this outrage must stop, and that she was going to drive those prices down, they have effectively doubled since then.
So, I know you can move the marker to when your opponent started to represent your district, but you could say just as much about the Democrats when they took the majority in Congress, right?
SEALS: You know, I think I would go back even further than that, Neil.
I mean, we can go back to the '70s, and say that we have had over 30 years of examples, through Democratic and Republican administration, where we have not gotten the job done on...
CAVUTO: All right. So, you weren't picking on your Republican opponent, or, for that matter, Republicans in general? This is just an indictment of everyone in leadership, right?
SEALS: I have got a problem with the way our energy policy is running out of Washington.
I do think my opponent, in voting to shield oil companies and subsidize them with taxpayer dollars...
SEALS: ... is part of that problem, absolutely.
CAVUTO: All right, Dan Seals, I would love to have you back. Thank you in the meantime.
SEALS: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right.
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