Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 Fox News Iowa Republican Presidential Debate: Keystone XL

The Keystone XL pipeline was a topic of the December 15, 2011 Fox News Republican presidential debate in Souix City, Iowa. Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann all weighed in on the issue, which has become a symbol for both sides in the ongoing debate over the future of the nation's policies on energy, the environment, and climate change.

Video and transcript of Newt Gingrich's remarks on Keystone XL:

Neil Cavuto, Fox News: Candidates, I want move on if we can to energy issues. And Speaker Gingrich, I’d like to begin with you. As you know, the President has rejected any efforts to tie a payroll tax cut extension with the Keystone pipeline and to reopen it, and to explore reopening it as well. He says any other way to connect it to would be akin to adding an extraneous issue. Given his opposition, and the likelihood that the Keystone issue could be up in the air for a year or more, how do you recommend Republicans deal with this to force the issue?

Newt Gingrich: You know Neil, I sometimes get accused of using language that’s too strong, so I’ve been standing here editing.
I’m very concerned about not appearing to be zany.
But I want to paint a picture for all of us.
The Iranians are practicing closing the Straits of Hormuz.
The Canadian Prime Minister has already said to the American president, “If you don’t want to create this pipeline to create 20,000 American jobs and bring oil through the United States to the largest refinery complex in the world, Houston, I’m going to put it straight west in Canada to Vancouver and ship the oil direct to China, so you’ll lose the jobs. You’ll lose the throughput. You’ll lose 30 or 40 years of work in Houston.”
And the President of the United States cannot figure out that it is – I’m using mild words hear – utterly irrational to say, “I’m now going to veto a middle class tax cut to protect left wing environmental extremists in San Francisco, so that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians, and do so in a way that makes no sense to any normal, rational American.”
Neil Cavuto, Fox News: No offense sir, but you didn’t answer my question. What would you do to try to move on this within a year.
Newt Gingrich: What should the Congressional Republicans do?
They should attach it to the middle class tax cut and send it to the President.
Force him to veto it.
Send it to him a second time.
We had to send welfare reform to Bill Clinton three times.
He vetoed it twice.
By the third time, the popular outrage was so angry - 92 percent of the country wanted to have welfare reform - he decided to sign it.
It happened to be an election year.
I said to the President, you want to be totally out of touch with the American people, be my guest, but I’m not backing down when we’re right and you are totally wrong.

Transcript of Jon Huntsman's comments on the Keystone XL oil pipeline:
Neil Cavuto: Governor, on this same issue, if you don’t mind, the delay as you’ve pointed out stands to threaten thousands of jobs. In a recent speech, you said up to 100,000 jobs.

But the President’s supporters say a rush decision could cost the environment a great deal more.

What I’d like to ask you Governor, is there any condition under which a President Huntsman would say the need to protect our land trumps the need to provide more jobs.

Jon Huntsman: It’s always going to be a balancing act.

We’ve got land that everybody respects and appreciates, but the job we’ve got to undertake as American people is to fuel our future.

We have no choice. I mean, our economy has hit the wall.

I want to get rid of that heroin like addiction we have based on imported oil.

$300 billion transfers every year from this country to a lot of unpredictable relationships that are no more than transactional.

In order to get where this country needs to be, we need a relationship with Canada, from which we can draw materials, but I also want to make sure that I’m able as President to disrupt the oil monopoly.

There’s a one product monopoly in terms of product distribution in this country.

If we’re going to achieve real energy independence, we’re going to have to be able to draw from a multiplicity of products like natural gas.

We wake up to the reality, Neil, in this country that we have more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil.

I say, “How stupid are we?”

 When are we going to get with the picture and start converting to transportation, converting to manufacturing, converting to electricity and power generation?

It is completely within our grasp. It’s going to require a President who understands that delicate balance and who is going to be able to go out with an aggressive plan towards energy independence that gets it done for this country.

Transcript of Michele Bachmann discussing Keystone XL: 
Neil Cavuto: Congresswoman Bachmann, you were very critical of the extended shutdown after the BP oil spill that I believe last upwards of five, six months in terms of a moratorium.

I was wondering though, Congresswoman, if you were President, and there were such a disaster again, what would be an acceptable period for oil drilling to cease for you to get to the bottom of a problem?

Michele Bachmann: Well, what we needed to do was find out what the true cause of the problem was, and the Obama administration wasn’t willing to have a true and thoughtful investigation to get to the bottom of it.

President Obama jumped to conclusions and he put a moratorium on accessing American oil in the Gulf region that actually hurt the economy more than the original disaster.

But I wanted to add something on Keystone.

Keystone is extremely important, the pipeline.

This pipeline is one that would have brought at least 20,000 jobs, at least $6.5 billion worth of economic activity.

And if I was President of the United States, I wouldn’t have taken the decision that President Obama did. His entire calculus was based on his reelection effort, because quite frankly the radical environmentalists said to President Obama, “You pass Keystone, we’re not going to do your volunteer door to door work.

That’s what Barack Obama has done to this country. He’s put his reelection over adding jobs and making the United States energy independent.

I would have made the decision as President of the United States, we would’ve put Keystone online immediately. has scrutinized the oft repeated claim that Keystone XL could create as many as 20,000 jobs and dubbed that jobs figure "inflated", making the claim the proposed oil pipeline might create up to 100,000 jobs grossly inflated.  They also found Jon Huntsman's claim that the United States had more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil to be inaccurate.

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