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Neil Cavuto Looks Foolish As He Defends Oil Company Price Gouging

Reported by Marie Therese - May 24, 2007 -

Yesterday, during Your World, Neil Cavuto vehemently defended the right of oil companies to gouge American consumers. He was so fixated on his talking points that he actually denied the facts being presented to him by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Committee. The Congressman was instrumental in the passage of the House bill making price gouging by oil companies a federal crime. With video.

Cavuto's belligerence towards his guest was pronounced as he did his best to prevent the Democratic Congressman from completing his points. Despite this, Rep. Stupak stayed calm, cool and collected and managed to rebut Cavuto very effectively.

The FOX host started off by asking whether or not Stupak had "proof" of oil gouging. Stupak answered in the affirmative, stating "There's no doubt in my mind, after working this issue for a long time, refineries are gouging the American people to the tune of - the spread - the profit spread on a barrel of oil to convert from oil to gas is $36.00. It should be $9.00. That's - that's raping the American people."

Cavuto then countered with the same old tired argument, i.e. that there are "too few refineries." He also tried to lay the blame for the lack of refining capacity at the doorstep of the Congress and the "environmentalists" who oppose them.

Rep. Stupak would have none of it. He shot down Cavuto's arguments by explaining that Congress has nothing to do with refinery requests. Those come from the oil companies.

The he mentioned a fact that that I have NEVER heard, not once, in the two years I've been monitoring FOX News Channel's business shows. He pointed out that since 1976 there has only been ONE application by an oil company to build a new refinery and that was in Maricopa County, Arizona. That request was vetted and approved within a year.

The refinery still hasn't been built.

Stupak went on to say that, in point of fact, the oil companies have actually done the opposite of building. "We have the memos that show in the mid 1990s, Texaco, Mobil, Chevron and these others - Conoco - actually wanted to close refineries," Stupak said. "They've closed over 200 refineries."

Cavuto immediately interrupted and loudly overtalked his guest, once again trying to change the subject to the fact that Conoco wanted to build "seven offshore facilities and were shut down by environmentalists." Instead of letting the Congressman respond, he raised his pudgy finger and took over the conversation. (Note: Cavuto was unclear about whether the "facilities" Conoco wanted to build were drilling operations or refineries or a combination of both.)

Unfortunately, Cavuto did manage to prevent the Congressman from addressing this issue.

When Cavuto asked "Do you know the price of a barrel of oil?" Stupak responded "Right now it's $65.00." When Cavuto tried to ask "Who's setting the price of the oil?", Stupak interrupted him and mentioned that the price of a barrel of oil was $70.00 last year at this time. "The price of oil is actually down, not up," he told Cavuto. "Why are prices up?"

Another "gotcha" moment.

Later, Rep. Stupak - who was totally in control of the facts - destroyed another of the favorite oil company arguments, i.e. the oil companies are entitled to raise prices because they had such a hard time in earlier years. Stupak pointed out that Congress approved tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies when they were having difficulty.

Zap! Zap! Zap! One by one Cavuto's corporate talking points fell.

By the end of the segment Cavuto came across as an obvious shill for the oil companies as he continued to argue for the right of the oil companies overcharge the American consumer.

Bart Stupak's final "gotcha" at the very end of the interview was priceless.

He invited Cavuto to testify in front of his Congressional Committee, if in fact the FOX host had real proof that the oil companies were not gouging.

REP. STUPAK: "I'm chairman of Oversight and Investigations Committee. If you have contrary proof, I invite you to come to our committee and present it. We'll be having more hearings on oil and gas in this country."

Neil Cavuto will testify before that committee only when pigs fly!

As for the Congressman, you can bet we'll never see him again on a FOX News business show.