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Special Event

George W. Bush Blames Clinton-Gore Administration for Rising Gas Prices

Aired June 23, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And George Bush has just stepped to the podium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he is meeting with reporters. And we expect he will be questioned about last night's actions at the Walls Prison in Huntsville.

GOV. GEORGE W.BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There seems to be an effort out of Washington to blame me for rising energy prices. And the American people don't buy that. It's the -- Clinton-Gore administration's been there for seven years, we're more dependent now than ever before on energy from foreign sources. And I am amazed that they're trying to shift the blame away from the people that are holding the office. And I resent that kind of politics, and so will the American people.

QUESTION: Governor, does the fact that you (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: No, it doesn't. I think we ought to make sure that we become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil. I'll have an energy policy. But I received a lot more support from people who drive cars, that rely upon -- who want to see the price of gasoline down.

And this is typical of an administration that refuses to accept responsibility. This is amazing. They've been in office for seven years, the price of gasoline has gone up during their period of time.

And I'm going to remind you all -- I don't know if anybody's read "Earth in the Balance." It's a book written by Vice President Gore. There's a particular chapter I find interesting here. It says, "In fact, almost every poll shows Americans decisively rejecting higher taxes on fossil fuels" -- this is the vice president's words -- "even though that proposal is one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a manner consistent with a more responsible approach to the environment."

In other words, he writes in a book that he thinks we ought to have higher fuel prices. And now that he's running for politics, running for president, there's higher fuel prices, he seems to be changing his tune.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: No, I fulfilled my obligations for the National Guard. And I'm proud of my service in the National Guard.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Yes, in Montgomery, Alabama, I did.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Sure.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: That they're interested in good government just like a lot of other people are, and I'm getting support from a wide variety of people.

But this is an attempt to try to shift the blame. Gasoline prices are high under the Clinton-Gore administration. Al Gore's running for president and he's advocated higher fuel prices. All of sudden now that the prices are higher, he seems to be changing his tune.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Politically motivated?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: The decision's going to made by an attorney general appointed by the president, who has put in place people -- the people that are looking at this issue.

My attitude about this is, if you're -- America's tired of scandals and investigations, let's elect somebody different other than the Clinton-Gore -- people from the Clinton-Gore administration.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Correct -- well, that's not true. You mean as a presidential candidate. That's a very good observation.

QUESTION: Why is Alabama so low on the totem pole?

BUSH: Those are your words. Alabama's high on the totem pole as far as I'm concerned, and I intend to carry the state of Alabama. I'm here working hard. And I think I've got a good chance of winning. But the best way to do so is to talk to -- directly to the people of Alabama about education and strengthening the military, about Social Security plan, but also about bringing honor and dignity to the White House, which is what I'm going to do.

Yes?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: Good job on the hand up.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: I will have to review the decision when it comes out. I've always felt that the Clinton administration should have allowed the case to be heard in a family court of law.

QUESTION: Regarding the death penalty, you've participated in the process many times. Is there anything about the process or a governor's role in it that you think needs to be tweaked in any way in upcoming legislation for future governors?

BUSH: No, the one thing I think we need to do is to make sure that in the state of Texas we adequately use DNA evidence when it's relevant to the case, and that's what I did in the McGinn case.

QUESTION: Governor, back to the National Guard, your decision to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for duty, what exactly did you do (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

BUSH: Well, see, I came to Alabama to work in Red Blount's campaign, I transferred from my unit, and I was there on a temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekend duty at one period of time. In other words, I made up some missed weekends.

QUESTION: What did you do?

BUSH: I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have the same airplane. I just -- I fulfilled my obligation.

QUESTION: Do you remember any kind of work?

WATERS: George W. Bush, campaigning in Alabama today, blaming high gas prices on the Clinton administration. He said, in answer to a question about another call for investigation of Al Gore's 1996 campaign finance scandal: Elect someone other than Gore. No comment on Elian Gonzalez, other than to say the entire case should have been held in family court. And no comment on last night's execution of Gary Graham.

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