Originally created 09/26/00

Who upped oil prices?



When Texas Gov. George W. Bush named Dick Cheney to be his runningmate last July, Democrats and their major media cheering squads jumped all over the new nominee for calling for higher oil prices in 1999 when he headed up Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based oil equipment firm.

At that time, July 1999, oil prices were at or near record lows; indeed dangerous lows at $10 to $15 a barrel, according to most experts.

Consumers were delighted. They don't complain when prices are down, only when they're up. But Cheney's year-old "raise-the-price-of-oil" comment put his campaign immediately on the defensive because it was clear that oil prices were soaring toward $30-a-barrel or more. However, there's more to the story.

The Clinton-Gore administration was worried about low oil prices, too.

Oil Daily reported Sept. 7, 1999, that "according to former Saudi Arabian oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the U.S., through Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, played a significant role in the OPEC-plus producer agreements to cut production that led to oil price recovery ..."

This story was dug up by the Media Research Center last week. But it should have been dug up by the major media in July. Certainly the fact that the administration, in which Al Gore is the No. 2 man, cooperated with OPEC to actually increase oil prices ought to be a much bigger story than some CEO like Cheney simply urging higher prices.

The vice presidential candidate and his boss, George W. Bush, have also been criticized for being the "Big Oil" ticket.

But wouldn't leaders who have worked in the energy sector know what they're talking about? As Cheney pointed out in Sunday's TV interview shows, oil companies are not to blame for soaring fuel prices. It's the administration's lack of an energy policy that's the culprit.