Clinton Takes Aim At Bush and Saudis

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

MAYFIELD, KY. -- Hillary Clinton's voice rose with a scalding timbre as she tore into oil companies and President Bush for meeting with leaders in Saudi Arabia.

"Yesterday the president was in Saudi Arabia, asking the Saudis, 'Please, please help us. Produce more oil or sell it at a lower price.' That is not an energy policy," declared Clinton at an outdoor rally. Her delivery turned from passion to anger as she clutched the microphone and jabbed her finger into the air.

"Frankly I find that embarrassing that the President of the United States would go over to Saudi Arabia and beg for their help!"

While the crowd of several hundred responded with a roar, Clinton's temperature continued to rise.

"We're more dependent on foreign oil today than we were on 9/11. And I'm a senator from New York, so I take that very personally. Because you'll remember most of those hijackers were from where? Saudi Arabia, right? So here we are - more dependent. We've done nothing while George Bush has been president!"

Clinton spoke to supporters gathered on the lawn of the Mayfield-Graves City Chamber in Paducah, which she said she had visited several times while campaigning for her husband Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore in past races.

Zeroing her focus on the declining economy and its effect on the rural communities of Kentucky, Clinton used the issue of oil and gas prices in an attempt to differentiate herself from John McCain and Barack Obama – specifically on her proposal for a gas tax holiday for consumers.

"I want to give you a gas tax holiday this summer and have the oil companies pay the gas tax out of their record profits. You know, I've been criticized from the right on this and I've criticized on the left which always make me feel I'm in exactly the right spot."

"Senator Obama says 'well we don't have to give people a gas tax holiday, it won't save them much money. Well by my estimate, according to Department of Energy figures, it would save the average driver $70 this summer. If you drive a lot and you commute long distances, you're an independent farmer or trucker, it'll save you a whole lot more."

"Senator McCain says give them a holiday but don't pay for it. That's kind of the Republican financial policy. I think we should try to give you some relief now and do it by going after the oil companies. I don't believe we can work our way out of this energy dilemma we face if we don't go after the oil companies."

Clinton went on to list her ideas, which included "incentivize" automakers to move toward higher mileage cars and experiment with biofuels.

She also had some of her harshest words for members of the media who project she will not win against Obama, saying they had been wrong in past primaries.

"Every time they say it, something funny happens – the voters don't agree," said Clinton, accusing television pundits of being "folks who don't want you to vote."

"They don't seem to have much faith in democracy. Everyone of them seems to be talking at us, instead of talking with us."