At a press conference on Monday, President Bush got a couple of really stupid questions from reporters but in turn gave great answers to them.
I saw film of these answers, and what does not show up in the transcripts I'll print below, was that President Bush visibly surprised that these dumb questions were asked in the first place.
Mark Smith from AP Radio: "Why have you not, sir, called on Americans to drive less and turn down the thermostat?"
President Bush: They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not. The consumer is plenty bright, Mark. The marketplace works. People can figure out whether they need to drive more or less. They can balance their own checkbooks. I think people ought to conserve and be wise about how they use gasoline and energy, absolutely. But my point to you, Mark, is that, you know, it's a little presumptuous on my part to dictate to consumers how they live their lives. The American people are plenty capable and plenty smart people and they'll make adjustments to their own pocketbooks. That's why I was so much in favor of letting them keep more of their own money, you know? It's a philosophical difference: Should the government spend their money or should they spend their own money? And I've got faith in the American people.
And then he was asked...
Unidentified Reporter: "Mr. President, do you think the oil companies are investing capital to find more reserves with the price at $140 a barrel?"
President Bush: Absolutely. Take an offshore exploration company. First of all costs a lot of money to buy the lease. They tie up capital. Secondly, it takes a lot of money to, you know, do the geophysics to determine what the structure may or may not look like. That ties up capital. Then they put the rig out there. Now, first of all, in a federal offshore lease if you're not exploring during a set period of time you lose your bonus. You lose the amount of money that you paid to get the lease in the first place. And once you explore, do your first exploratory, if you happen to find oil or gas you'll find yourself in a position where a lot of capital is tied up, and it becomes -- and your interests, your economic interests will continue to explore so as to reduce the capital costs of the project on a per barrel basis. So I think they're exploring.
President Bush having to hand out Capitalism 101 lessons to the journalism graduates.
Did you notice in that first question that the reporter assumed that Americans are so stupid that they need the President to order them to do sensible things?