Saturday, May 15, 2004

Woodward tells CBS 60 Minutes Saudis promised election to Bush

It may be old news, but the BushWatch is prominently reporting on the April 18, 2004 CBS 60 Minutes Sunday interview with Bob Woodward.

Woodward told Mike Wallace that Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Bandar promised Bush would win the 2004 election because Saudi Arabia would dramatically lower oil prices to create favorable economic conditions in the U.S.

(This is the same Prince Bandar who has been friends of the Bush Administration for years. according to Woodward gave his approval of the Iraq war plan before Powell even knew the war was on. According to the US Government, Bandar's wife accidentally gave money to the 911 terrorists at one point).

Theorists have long believe that US Presidential Elections are determined by the strength of the US economy prior to the election.

Oil prices have a significant impact on the US economy. High oil prices are effectively taxation, except the money goes to oil producers rather than benefitting the pulic. High oil prices cause inflatation, requiring the fed to slow economic growth by eventually raising interest rates.

According to the Atlantic Monthly, Saudi Arabia, with the world's largest reserves and oil production capacity, has a strategy of using its huge production capability as an "oil weapon" against other Arab states --- they want to be in a position where they can undercut OPEC at the drop of a hat by suddenly turning on the oil spigot.

This makes Woodward's comments plausible: Prince Bandar would potentially have the power to have oil prices fall dramatically just in time for the US election.

I've mentioned the Saudis in previous articles (May 14th May 12th (Michael Moore)) and have promised to come back to them in future articles. There will also be a guest article on Saudi Arabia in a future column.

Whether the Saudis will risk the ire of fellow Arabs by actually following through on this promise, and whether oil prices will fall in time to help the economy before the election is another matter.

And Americans have been known occasionally to look past the economy in a Presidential Election. Concerns about the President's handling of foreign affairs and its impact on national security are also expected to be a factor. We all remember 911. Time will tell.