A press spokesman for Barack Obama today left concerns over the consumer costs of fuel – with gasoline costing some $4 per gallon across much of the country – unaddressed.
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House and the second most-senior reporter on the White House beat, had wanted to ask the White House spokesman – Josh Earnest in Jay Carney’s absence – the question, “Does the White House agree with Sen. Ben Cardin that ‘oil supply is up and demand is down so there is no logical reason why gas prices continue to soar?’”
Kinsolving also wanted to ask, “Does the White House agree with Sen. Cardin’s statement: ‘We need to take decisive actions now to stop the speculators who are driving up prices for all of us at a time we can least afford.’”
But Earnest did not allowing him to ask any questions, instead spending time for five questions each from NPR, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal as well as four each from AP, NBC, CNN and American Urban Radio.
In a statement released just days earlier, Cardin said he was helping introduce a bill to require federal regulators to invoke emergency powers and “rein in” speculators “responsible for rapidly rising gasoline prices.”
The plan would set a 14-day deadline for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to implement rules to stop excessive speculation by Wall Street traders in oil futures markets.
Cardin joined with others on the plan, saying, “Millions of American consumers are hurting as a result of excessive speculation on the oil futures market and the future of our economy hangs in the balance. The time to act is now,”
He attributed the recent surge in crude oil prices to speculators “who control more than 80 percent of the energy futures market, a figure that has more than doubled over the past decade.”
While supplies of fuel are greater than they were three years ago and the demand is below that level for April 1997, prices still are significantly higher than the $1.94 average of 2009.
Cardin’s statement said, “Exxon Mobil, the American Trucking Association, Delta Airlines, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis all say excessive oil speculation significantly increases oil and gasoline prices.”
Just days earlier, when Carney was in attendance at the White House, he also declined to allow Kinsolving to ask a related question. At that time, he wanted to ask: “Does the president support his fellow Democrat, Maryland’s Gov. [Martin] O’Malley, in his call for higher taxes on gasoline?” and “What is the White House reaction to columnist Krauthammer’s report of the ‘promises’ of seaweed in their gas tanks?”
At that time, however, Carney allowed NBC to ask eight questions, AP to ask five and Fox, Reuters and CNN to ask three each. He did not allow Kinsolving and dozens of other reporters to ask any questions.
O’Malley had suggested that the state sales tax in Maryland be applied to gasoline. He got a response that was an “earful” from state lawmakers, according to reports on the controversy.