What Is the Future of Energy?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Four dollar a gallon gas really hurts a lot of people around this country. It's not because they're wasteful, but if you are driving 50 miles to work and that is the only job you can find and you can't afford some hybrid, so you are stuck with the old beater that you are driving around that gets eight miles a gallon, these gas prices are killing you right now. And so this is the reason why I've said that it is so important for us to invest in new approaches to energy.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Obama at that Facebook event just a short time ago and there you see the comparison today where oil is per barrel. And when he, President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009 and the price per gallon of gas, the comparison there as well. He's told that story before a little differently at different town halls.

We're back with the panel. About energy, Charles Lane, this administration, we're now one year after the BP explosion and oil spill. What about what this administration is doing on energy?

CHARLES LANE, WASHINGTON POST: Well, the president did give a speech just a little while ago in which he proposed a program for energy independence, which was basically a repackaging of a lot of existing subsidiaries for ethanol and other renewables and the like.

He is kind of stuck on the drilling thing because he has, ya know, the environmentalists in the party don't like it, but the public does. And so he is trying to allow it but slowly. And one of the consequences of that has been that offshore oil drilling production went down over the last year.

I think that's a negative for him politically at a time of high gas prices. We just saw poll by CNN in the last day or two showing 69 percent of the public now favors offshore oil drilling. It's pretty incredible considering the video people are looking at right now about muck in the gulf. And I think he's a step behind public opinion on that issue.

BAIER: Jonah?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: I think the energy policy is particularly vexing. Congressional Research Service just came out with a report saying that the United States has the most energy reserves in the world by far, more than Saudi Arabia, more than Russia, more than anybody.

Obama keeps going out there, talking about windmills and solar, even though we don't run our cars on windmill and solar. We run it on oil. We're the only country in the world that does not exploit our mineral and oil reserves in a serious way. We're supposed to be leading the world as a role model. And yet, no one is following us. Everyone would laugh if we tried to tell them don't develop your oil. And meanwhile, Obama, a couple of weeks ago, is out there telling Brazil, go ahead, do your offshore drilling. It is a bizarre position for him to be in.

BAIER: We should point out that that video is file of the Gulf oil clean-up soon after the spill. Governor Jindal down in Louisiana wants to point out that there is still oil off the coast there. But that video you just saw is not today video. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: When the president spoke about the price of gasoline is high, therefore I'm doing what I'm doing on energy, it was a non- sequitur. As Jonah indicates, we're not going to run our cars on windmills, at least in our lifetime. And we have all the fuels that we need. And we are not exploiting them.

I think if we were to spend half the resources that we're spending on such pie in the sky experiments as electric cars on getting the right controls, the regulation on drilling and deep water, and, as you reported earlier, on this enormous new resource, which is natural gas, that requires new techniques that are potentially polluting, spend our money on that, do our research on that, and try to get ways to do the fracturing in a less polluting way and to capture the gases also in a less polluting way. Exploit what we already have. It can be done.

Instead, he is talking about these, ya know, wild technologies of the future. And when he talked about the price of gasoline, he doesn't want to mention Saudi Arabia cut back its production in March, which was a message. And this is after Obama literally bent a knee to the Saudi king the first time he met him. It was a message about their unhappiness with American policy in many areas.

BAIER: And quickly, the all of the above is a powerful political tool you think in 2012?

LANE: Well, the problem with all of the above is that they contradict one another. And ya know, you can't subsidize one thing that's an alternative to another. I just want to be clear, I don't think all high gas prices are Barack Obama's fault. They have a lot to do with the Fed's monetary policy, they have a lot to do with what's going on in the Middle East, things out of his control. Maybe that his policy response is not entirely adequate, but he is not to blame for the high gas prices.

BAIER: It's still interesting to look at the comparison.

LANE: Yes, although we were in a recession in '09 which is the main reason those prices were low when he took the oath.

BAIER: That is it for panel. But stay tuned for a surprise. New relatives perhaps of Hosni Mubarak have been unveiled, or Qaddafi. Stay tuned.