Political Pump

WASHINGTON, Apr. 25

Are gas prices a voting issue? Do voters think the President and his party are doing a good job on gas prices? Can the price of gas be brought down by politicians quickly? Do the Democrats have ideas that would actually bring down the price of gas quickly? Do Americans pay less for gas than people in other industrialized democracies? Did reporters get a lot of press releases from Republicans yesterday about gas prices? Are energy company executives concerned with maximizing shareholder profits? Does former oilman and MBAer George Walker Bush know about supply and demand? Can Republicans neutralize the gas price issue by jawboning and feeling the pain of their constituents, even if prices do not go down?

Answers: Yes, no, no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, maybe.

More: Could you pick the Secretary of Energy out of a line-up? Will the network Election Day exit poll include a question on gas prices? Will gas prices + Iraq keep the President's approval rating below 40% for the foreseeable future? Do politicians seem to like saying the word "gouging"? Is the limitless creativity of network journalists on display with coverage of the gas story? Does The Note prefer the Hu/Abbott and Costello jokes to all the gas puns?

Answers: Maybe, maybe, maybe, yes, yes, yes.

Finally: Can you name the news organization or interest group that has already done the most thorough analysis of Tony Snow's columns and television and radio appearance transcripts, on not just gas prices but the full range of topics?

Answer: OH, YES, WE CAN.

In the political energy wars, the main even today will be President Bush's 10:05 am ET remarks at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

ABC News' Ann Compton reports that President Bush will talk about gas prices remaining high over the summer and the current changeover to a different gas mixture pushing gas prices even higher while offering a four-point plan for relief.

The four components are: (1) making sure that consumers are treated "fairly" at the gas pump, (2) promoting more fuel efficiency, (3) boosting gasoline supply at home, and (4) promoting alternative fuels as a long-term solution.

Note that energy company profits are expected to be announced today.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will offer some opposing sound while speaking at the Renewable Fuel Association Energy Summit at 1:30 pm ET.

Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) plan to send a letter to President Bush, asking him to take action to provide relief from increasing gas prices.

Specifically, the Senators are requesting that the President support an anti-price-gouging law, urge oil companies to refrain from additional price increases, urge oil companies to divert profits to pumps for alternative fuels, and, if necessary, support legislation to, "eliminate tax incentives or benefits now enjoyed by oil companies."

(Later in the day, the President will participate in the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief's trophy to the Naval Academy football team at 2:05 pm ET, and meet with members of the Senate in the Cabinet Room at 3:25 pm ET).

Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jack Reed (D-RI) unveil a bipartisan Iraq proposal at 9:45 am ET in the Senate Radio and Television Gallery.

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