Bush Once Again Fails To ‘Jawbone’ King Abdullah At His Horse Ranch Into Increasing Oil Production

During the 2000 presidential campaign, President Bush criticized the Clinton administration for high fuel prices and said that as president, he would take a much tougher approach — “jawbone OPEC members to lower the price”:

What I think the president ought to do [when gas prices spike] is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots…And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price.

Last January, Bush went to Saudi Arabia to “jawbone” King Abdullah into increasing oil production in an effort to bring rising gas prices down in the United States. But perhaps because the jawboning session occurred in the comforts of the King’s horse ranch, the King declined Bush’s kind request.

Bush was back in Saudi Arabia today meeting with the King to make a second appeal for the oil-rich nation to increase its crude output. But again, instead of jawboning, Bush took the horse farm approach and failed once again:

The White House says Saudi Arabia’s leaders are making clear they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it.

President Bush was in the oil-rich country Friday to appeal to King Abdullah for greater production to help halt rising gas prices in the United States. […]

Bush was spending the day with Abdullah at his horse farm outside Riyadh, talking mostly out of public view over three tea services and two meals.

But Bush’s Saudi Arabia junkets are perhaps more symbolic than anything else. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that even if the King had agreed to increase Saudi Arabia’s oil production, its effect on lowering gas prices in the U.S. would have been minimal to non-existent.


While “[n]obody has cracked the code” to the cause of high gas prices, there are other issues that contribute, such as a weak dollar. But seeing that the King of Saudi Arabia has little control of the dollar’s value, it seems Bush’s visits indicate his continued addiction to oil rather than any adherence to sound policy that helps Americans.

Brad Johnson breaks down other key components to high gas prices over at the Wonk Room.