Ed Henry to Jay Carney: Why did the president support tax breaks for big oil in 2005?

It’s the president’s present answer to high gas prices: End tax breaks for oil companies! He didn’t always sing the same tune, though. As a U.S. senator in 2005, the president voted for an energy bill that included more than $2 billion in tax breaks for oil companies.

Fox News’ Ed Henry called the president on this hypocrisy today by posing a question to poor Jay Carney, who had no explanation. From The Right Scoop comes the exchange (click the image to watch):

Carney: What I can tell you Ed is that the oil and gas companies in this country are making record profits, now, in 2012. The price at the pump is very high and that is plenty of incentive for these companies to continue drill, to continue to explore, to continue to develop energy sources here in the United States and abroad. There is no reason for the American taxpayer to subsidize that activity.

Henry: So why’d he vote for it?

Carney: I haven’t examined the vote, or what the prices were at the time, or the whole bill it was attached to. What I know and what the President knows is that this year, 2012, when we are seeing high prices at the pump, high prices in the international oil markets and high profits for the oil and gas companies, there is no reason to continue these kinds of subsidies. Take that argument to the people, I don’t think they’ll go along with it.

Carney inadvertently hinted at a partial explanation for the president’s anti-oil-and-gas-company rhetoric: It plays well with the American people. According to a recent poll, Americans do, in fact, hold oil companies and oil-producing countries more responsible for high gas prices than the president.

The president repeatedly fails to mention, however, that the tax code actually doesn’t favor oil and gas companies over renewables. If he’s going to end subsidies, why not just end all of ’em?

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