Appearing this afternoon on MSNBC’s Hardball, White House Counselor Dan Barlett adamantly denied that anyone in the administration claimed that the Iraq war would lead to lower gas prices. The transcript:
MATTHEWS: [W]e’ve been struck by higher gas prices. That was another promise made, that this war would help us get cheaper gas —
BARTLETT: I don’t think —
MATTHEWS: None of these promises come through.
BARTLETT: That’s not correct, Chris. The president or no one else ever said that this war was going to result in cheaper gas prices…
MATTHEWS: Ok, so just to make it official, Dan, no one in the administration has ever said that we would have cheaper gas because of war in Iraq, just to make it official?
BARTLETT: I don’t recall anybody ever saying that, Chris.
As Matthews noted later in the broadcast, Laurence Lindsey – President Bush’s senior economic advisor at the time — argued in 2002 that the Iraq war would increase oil supplies and lower prices. From the Washington Times, 9/19/02:
As for the impact of a war with Iraq, “It depends how the war goes.” But he quickly adds that that “Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits that would come from a successful prosecution of the war.”
“The key issue is oil, and a regime change in Iraq would facilitate an increase in world oil,” which would drive down oil prices, giving the U.S. economy an added boost.
Bartlett is a talented spinmeister but facts are stubborn things.