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NPR's Totenberg Defends Obama From Rising Gas Prices: 'Politicians Don't Control This'

Noel Sheppard's picture

As NewsBusters has been reporting, America's media currently feel it's their job to make sure soaring gas prices don't negatively impact Barack Obama's chances of reelection.

NPR's Nina Totenberg did her part on Friday's Inside Washington saying, "Politicians don't control this" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

GORDON PETERSON, HOST: It’s also a fact that gasoline prices are skyrocketing as we sit here. Let's say gasoline hits say $5 by Election Day. What are the president's chances of reelection?

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Well, you know, gasoline prices do affect, they take, they are like a big tax in that they take money out of people's pockets, particularly at the lower income levels when they have to get to work, for example. However, let us say, and I think we have seen enough of this for the last 20 years that people have some sense that that politicians don't control this.

I mean, there was a study recently that showed if the United States actually was accountable for all, made all of its own gas, all of it was pumped in the United States, it still would only reduce the price of gas internationally and to us at about a few cents a gallon because it’s we don't, we don’t produce all the gas in the world, all the petrol in the world.

It really is amazing that someone so ignorant not only has a platform to speak such gibberish on radio but also gets invited on one of America's oldest political television talk shows once a week to further misinform the public.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. was a net importer of 9.4 million barrels of oil a day in 2010. The entire global production of oil that year was 82 million barrels per day.

If America produced an additional 9.4 million thereby becoming self-sufficient, that would be an increase of 11 percent internationally and would have a huge impact on prices.

Sadly, folks like Totenberg have been making this silly argument for decades: more American production won't solve the immediate problem.

Imagine for a moment drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge had been approved twenty years ago. How much would all of that additional oil be impacting prices right now?

In Totenberg's warped view, apparently not at all.

As such, it seems her goal is to not only shield the president from gas price criticism but also to  further the argument that additional domestic oil production isn't warranted because it won't help.

Pretty scary when you think about it.

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#1 Nina T. continues to amaze....

"Politicians don't control this".....unless the name is Bush. This creature continues her career as a left wing toady. She is the poster child for ignorance in action. Nina, PLEASE get a new hairdo!

#2 Exactly

Bush got hammered by the Dems over gasoline prices.

And once again, Nina Totenberg has provided more evidence of her lack of understanding of basic facts.

#3 It doesn't require actually

It doesn't require actually drilling now to lower the price, just The threat that we will be drilling in the near future. Right now Obama has done everything to limit our production including trying to stop fracking which they are now touting as Obama increased oil production.

#4 But it's not just Nina's view

But it's not just Nina's view that more production means lower gas prices: Even the American Petroleum Institute is arguing that more production doesn't mean lower costs.

#5 Have you ever had an original

Have you ever had an original thought in your entire life? The facts are that oil and gas prices are highly volatile and in part based on speculation so when you have a president that has made it his mission to reduce oil production in order to push his crony green energy of course speculators are going to bet on less oil and higher prices. If speculators thought a real president was going to make it his mission to increase American production then prices would drop dramatically.


I don't remember her and her ilk saying this about Bush when prices spiked---maybe I missed it.

#7 Hear, hear...

Yeah, really. The libutard media blamed Reagan, Bush and Bush for rising gas prices for decades without a thought. I heard comedy sketches on NPR itself, depicting Bush and Cheney holding secret meetings to raise gas prices for no other reason than to 'enrich their oil buddies'.

You've all heard the liberal cliches. 'No blood for oil', 'Republican X's oil buddies', 'Government conspiracy to push oil', over and over and over again.

Now that their angry black man is the guy in charge (who's botching it completely), the same libutard media that pilloried Presidents and Republicans of all persuasions over high gas prices are now putting on their padded kneepads and giving Obama the media stimulation that he's demanding.

If a Liberal/Democrat politician/media figure wants to put their arms around you, or pat you on the back, all they're doing is looking for a good place to stick a knife.

#8 Well then

If it's like a big tax, wouldn't that help to stimulate the economy? Take the forty dollars a month from the SS tax cut, spend eighty of it on gasoline, and we'll be roaring back for the second half. We sure don't need anybody trying to save any of that money.

#9 Umm I wish gas prices were less on an government

oligopoly and set up more like a free market monopolistic competition model. However, to expect a liberal eco-freak like Totenberg to give it to your straight in real economic terms is like asking her to to quit being so self loathing over Israel. That's if she even knows anything about basic economics in the first place.

#10 Pliticians don't control this

unless they have a "R" after their name.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” – Marcus Aurelius

#11 Nina

Nina Twitberg at it again. Look at the price of natural gas-cheap, right, guess why? I just hope this idiot doesn't have a drivers license-oh wait, I think she does. Watch out, here she comes in her Prius. Would love to see what brainy remarks she made about high gas prices when Bush was in office, I'm sure it was ALL his fault.

#12 Is that you?

Totenberg? Nina Totenberg?

NPR's Nina "schadenfreude uber alles if Sen. Helms or his grandkids got AIDS" and "forgive the expression, 'Christmas party'" and Geo. Bush was the real food stamp president Totenberg??

A completely objective and well informed journalist of the highest caliber, of course.

#13 I guess the old adage that sexy women arent intelligent...

Cause ugly, gruesome women apparently arent too bright, either! Who is this broad, and what hole did she crawl out of? Oh, shes on NPR-well, that makes a WORLD of difference! Everybody OUT! And HER, at HER age, ought tio be ashamed of herself!

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. BEN FRANKLIN

#14 More rediculous pap from Helen Seinfeld.

Do you know why the federal government keeps denying the tax payers from cutting off the subsidy of NPR? Because we need to show the country what idiots really look like and sound like if their heads are jammed so far up Obama's ass that they can see what food he is going to eat when not in the presence of Moochelle..

"Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets". - Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver (1976).

#15 you know what...she is right.

But only partially. Maybe politicians don't effect the price of energy, but policies put in place by Presidents and Energy Secretaries do! And to make matters very confusing for liberals, policies have a lag time before their effects are felt.
But then we all know that what she really meant was Democrats aren't responsible for stuff but Republicans are always responsible.


Madison and Jefferson and Franklin built a Republic - Roberts killed it! 

#16 What study, Nina? At your age, you should know better.

What study? Where was it published? How were those conclusions drawn?

Expected liberal reaction: quote a "study" (whether real or not) and then argue a conflicting point is not "factual".

Sorry Nina, but your "study" has as much validity as cold fusion in a mayonnaise jar.

#17 She really needs to point out

She really needs to point out where Bush and Cheney are pushing up oil prices from their war room. It is a plot for them to take over the world and make it so Obama cant finish his grand project that will usher us into the Utopia he has envisioned for us.

Nuke em til they glow; then shoot em in the dark

#18 Have The Libs

Brought out the usual liberal suspects comprising evil oil companies and their greedy profits and greedy CEO's and of course sinister speculators in the oil markets as the cause of higher gas prices yet? Of course it isn't our anti-fossil fuel president pushing his bankrupt ideas on 'alternative' energy, offshore drilling moratorium, a continuing worthless dollar, and lack of refining capacity, instability in the middle east (more than usual I guess) as the cause. BTW has anyone noticed that the Canadian dollar is now on par with the U.S. dollar. I have never seen that before. A continuing disaster but he still garners a 50 percent approval rating. Go figure.

"Somehow, I told you so, just doesn't quite say it." Will Smith in 'I, Robot.'

#19 Idiot!!!!!


#20 End of journalism

Please join me in sending emails and phone calls to those media darlings who give us the news. Inform them that they are no longer considered journalists. They are now Press Agents for Obama's Public Relations agency - the Democratic Party. They will no longer be given any respect from the informed American public which is why their viewer numbers are so dismal.

Honest journalists consider Press Agents lower than ants at a picnic. Of course, since the number of honest journalists has dwindled - perhaps we should compare them to slugs.

Surely they don't believe that we are believing anything they say? Mr. Gregory, Bob, Mark, and the rest of the Sunday crew - How can I forget Eleanor - you remind me of those 1940's movies about dishonest press agents. It is so sad. They should be ashamed of themselves. I wonder if any of them have a degree from J school? Of course, many J schools today are nothing but glorified Public Relations factories. Thank goodness for Newsbusters!!!

Linda Mae

#21 Crude oil is a commodity.

Crude oil is a commodity. Refiners will obtain oil from the cheapest source, whether it's imported or domestic. Oil producers will likewise sell to the highest bidder, whether domestic or foreign. Cheap oil imports are a good thing for consumers. But domestic production provides other economic benefits like jobs.

While Nina may be correct in that the president has no direct control over world oil prices, she fails to understand that the US president is the one person in the world who's actions affect oil prices more than anyone else. Oil prices are not affected in the short term by actual supply and demand. Instead they respond to perceived future events that might affect supply and demand.

Consider this: The US has one of the world's largest untapped oil reserve in the Colorado/Utah oil shales. This shale oil can be economically extracted for something like $40/bbl. That's why oil prices will not stay above $100/bbl for the long term. Why import oil for $100/bbl when we can produce it domestically for $40/bbl. With the prospect of massive US domestic $40/bbl oil supplies looming, the price of crude will eventually settle back down near that level. And gasoline prices will do likewise.

The best thing the president can do for gasoline prices is enact long term, equitable policies that foster market stability.

#22 Himmmmmmm

Immediately after taking office in 2009, Obama canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.

In January 2010, Obama issued new regulations making it more difficult to develop energy resources on federal land.

After the BP oil spill, Obama needlessly instituted, not one, but two outright drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico.

After rescinding his outright offshore drilling ban, Obama then refused to issue any new drilling permits in the Gulf, a policy that the Energy Information Administration estimated would cut domestic offshore oil production by 13% that year.

Under Obama, in 2010 the federal government issued the lowest number of onshore leases since 1984.

Under Obama the federal government has leased less than half of the offshore acres that President Clinton did.

The Obama administration held just one offshore lease sale in all of fiscal year 2011. President Bush’s energy plan called for five.

Obama is also blocking access to 19 billion barrels of oil in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, another 10 billion barrels estimated in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast, and another 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

just to name a few.....

ya must be right Barry ain't did nut'n


#23 What a poofy hair style she has

I don't know whether Nina spends more time poofing her hair into a 1970s style or kneeling before Obama, Lewinsky-like.

Tough call.

#24 "Like" a big tax?

What do you mean "like" a big tax? Most of what we pay at the pump IS a tax, in one form or another! From general sales taxes, to highway funds taxes, to environmental regulation "fees," to each and every penny the various federal, state, and local governments impose upon the consumer in the form of taxes, MOST of the cost of every single gallon of gas is "controlled" directly by politicians!

You want to lower gas prices? Fine, then give us a oil and gas tax holiday, just like with the payroll withholdings holiday. That's well within the power of the politicians. After all, they are the ones who slapped those taxes on us to begin with.

WHY can't these people ever tell us the truth?

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. The US Constitution

Unless you're a fetus. The US Supreme Court

Or Anwar al-Awlaki.

#25 Credibility

Is this the same Nina that dropped out of college? That was fired for plagiarism? That brought Anita Hill to Washington to slander Clarence Thomas? That Nina Totenberg? We sure should take her view seriously.


#26 Information

Just for the sake of truth, "Big Oil" makes about 7 cents per gallon while governments make about 48 cents per gallon. Governments don't invest anything. Nice return huh?


#27 Newt-has said with three signatures-

the gas prices would be lower.
If i am not wrong-once Pres. Bush signed in the drill baby drill to work-gas prices dropped immediately.
how come.
all gas if the same blend across the country-would also drop the price.
how come

Fast & Furious along with Solyndra are example of who BHO is BHO Policies have caused Failed Economy- Liberals = Wealth Re-distribution




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