I've mentioned this before. I always thought Ronald Reagan's press conferences were great fun. It looked like it was almost impossible to keep the great communicator on script. After most press conferences, Ronnie would wander off to take a nap, and someone would have to hold a follow up press conference to explain what the President really meant to say. Sometimes the Bush staff has that same problem.
President Bush called in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night for the United States to break its "addiction" to Middle Eastern oil using technological solutions.
"Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy," Bush told Americans, who are paying more than $2 a gallon for gasoline. "Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."
"The best way to break this addiction is through technology," he said, adding that technological advances will help achieve a "great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.
What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.
"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.
He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.
In other words, Bush's old family friends, the House of Saud, had a few words to say about losing our business. So, when Bush said "unstable parts of the world" and "the Middle East" what he really meant to say was "Canada" and "I'll be long gone by then; it's not my problem."