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"America is addicted to oil"

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In his 2006 State of the Union address, George W. Bush made energy policy one of his central planks in what he described as a strategy to "keep America competitive."

State of the Union Address

"Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances," he said. [1] (Emphasis added).

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy," he said.

"We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years, "he said.

"Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past, "he said.

Mideast Oil Reduction Not Meant Literally

"One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally," Knight-Ridder's Kevin Hall reports. [2]

"What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025." In his State of the Union address, Bush spelled it out: "America is addicted to oil." Why Bush made the call to "break this addiction" to Middle East oil when he didn't really mean it? "[O]ne administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that 'every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands," Hall writes, adding, "The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble." [3]

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