While the United States sells Saudi Arabia new weapons and President Bush asks for a boost in oil production to drop the price of oil on the world market, others are trying to make political hay of this. Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY] on the campaign trail called the request pathetic. Gov. Bill Richardson [D-NM], who is also running for the Democrat presidential nomination, was quick off the mark to take a jab back at Sen. Hillary Clinton’s comment by reminding people at a press conference he had also asked the Saudis to boost oil production. After all Bill Richardson was at one time President William Jefferson Clinton’s Secretary of Energy. So it seems once again Sen. Clinton is playing fast and loose with facts.
What this latest gaffe of Sen. Clinton will do is boost the discussion on energy independence for the United States. Which brings out another fact she probably does not want mentioned even as she trades on Bill Clinton’s eight years as President to say she is qualified to be President. In 1996 and 1997 Congress authorized and President Clinton approved the sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce the federal deficit. Some 23 million barrels were sold and netted the Federal government $447 million in revenue. What an optimistic world we lived in back in 1996 and 1997, selling off strategic assets designed to cushion the US against another 1973 OPEC induced oil crisis to pay down the deficit even as a Secretary of Energy was pleading with the Saudis to pump more oil.