March 19, 2007

Rudy Responds On Citgo

Rudy Giuliani responded yesterday to criticism for his indirect involvement to lobbying efforts on behalf of Citgo, the subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company. Speaking with reporters in Tampa, he shrugged off the issue, saying that his firm tried to protect American jobs in Texas:

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Sunday defended his law firm's role in representing Citgo Petroleum Corp., which is ultimately controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying it was helping protect American jobs.

Giuliani acknowledged though, that his opponents will try to exploit the news that a lawyer with Bracewell & Giuliani of Houston has been representing Citgo before the Texas legislature.

The firm has had a contract with Citgo since before Giuliani joined it.

"Oh, they'll exploit everything," Giuliani said in an interview. "There are things that make sense and things that don't make sense and that doesn't make any sense. It was one of those political attacks where you have nothing to do with it, you're not involved in it and so it doesn't really worry you very much. What they're doing is lawful and honorable and helping to protect jobs for more than 100,000 Americans."

Although Citgo Petroleum is a U.S.-based company, it was bought in 1990 by Petroleos de Venezuela, the national oil company of Venezuela. It employs 4,000 people in Texas and other states, and Giuliani said indirectly more than 100,000 people have jobs because of the company.

This particular issue always looked like a non-starter. First, as the AP notes, Giuliani joined the company after it had already contracted to represent Citgo, and before Chavez became such a headache to the US. Giuliani never represented Citgo personally, and the attempt to tie him to Chavez seems really weak.

Giuliani had a good response ready. He noted that Chavez and Venezuela would not present much of a problem had we developed alternative energy resources and eliminated the need to import so much oil He promised a moon-shot type effort to develop alternatives to imported oil, saying that energy independence had the same impact that the Apollo program had on the US decades ago.

Rudy also told reporters that we needed to leverage Chavez more in South America. He causes as much angst in Latin America as he does with the US, but Giuliani said that we had not used that enough to build bridges with other nations in the region. A skillful use of Chavez could help realign the hemisphere in America's favor.

All in all, a good response. Giuliani took a weak lemonade and made some strong lemonade. Let's see what he can do when the lemons get a little more tart.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Rudy Responds On Citgo:

» Giuliani Notes: Rudy in Florida Defends Firms Citgo Work from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, left, talks to New York Yankees manager Joe Torre in the Yankees dugout before the Yankees 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fl., Sunday, March 18, 200... [Read More]

Comments (4)

Posted by JeanneB [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 19, 2007 5:12 AM

As a "middle of the road" candidate, Rudy is just the one to tackle the ongoing energy debate once and for all. I'm always surprised that no one has offered this solution.

Lefties want alternative energy research, no drilling,fuel standards, public transportation, etc. Righties want more drilling, alternative energy research and fuel standards that allow for vehicle safety (weight).

Rudy should say "Let's do it all!". Public investment in research and mass transit (which we're already doing) AND drilling in ANWAR. How 'bout some incentives for states that allow offshore drilling (no federal gasoline taxes?). I could go on, but that's the nut of it. Voters would eagerly support such an approach that gores everyone's ox while moving us significantly forward on energy independence.

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 19, 2007 7:56 PM

Captain Ed: "He promised a moon-shot type effort to develop alternatives to imported oil, saying that energy independence had the same impact that the Apollo program had on the US decades ago."

The "moon-shot type effort" of the '60s gave us Apollo, which was wonderful, but it also led to an hide-bound NASA that is only now beginning to draw upon the entrepeneurial magic of America.

The government can perhaps provide incentives (Newt Gingrich likes prizes, and so do I), but I'd rather rely on unfettered private enterprise to create the energy alternatives. The government will settle on some expensive and largely impractical scheme, like an 'hydrogen economy', and we'll be stuck with an albatross for a century or more.

The government can't innovate. Private individuals and companies can. Let's encourage them.

I like Rudy, but wonder if he's the right man. Maybe Fred Thompson? Rudy can be Secretary of Energy, Commerce, Interior, or something.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 19, 2007 8:34 PM

Private companies will never take alternative fuels to the point we need. Exxon-Mobil types would stop it. The Dems should offer Anwar to the Conservatives if they agree to DOUBLE fuel efficiency of new cars. Sounds like a good tradeoff to me. Here in Wisconsin ethanol plants are popping up all over, farmers are getting paid more for their corn, all in all a win-win situation. Do people realize that after corn is processed into ethanol that a high protein byproduct is fed back to cattle. We don't need Chavez or King Faisal or any of those doofs, we can grow our fuel!

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 20, 2007 8:06 AM

CD, ethanol from maize (corn) is no panacea: it costs more in energy to produce than you get out of it, and it is driving up the price of corn meal. Better might be sawgrass or other waste foliage, but it is still expensive to make ethanol (your tax dollars are subsidizing it). There are plants that make oil, however, and bacteria that generate methane. The government is too stupid to pursue anything so 'exotic'.

Even if Exxon-Mobile won't pursue alternative energy, plenty of start-ups and independents will. If demand for oil continues to increase worldwide, the price will continue to escalate, and that will make alternatives more attractive. Oil shale and oil-from-coal are two short-term possibilities. We (including Canada) have vast amounts of both.

Long term, nuclear power and solar power from orbiting satellites look good (the latter depends on developing inexpensive ways out of Earth's gravity well—another opportunity for private enterprise). Then there's geothermal, wind, and earth-based solar power, some of which are beginning to be competitive for electric production now.

What we don't want is for the federal government to settle on some 'solution', like ethanol (with subsidies) and thereby depress innovation in all the other possibilities, including some we have not even thought of (back in the 1920s, who would have thought of solar power, or even nuclear power?). How about genetically-engineered bio-electrical tissues, bathed in salt water and nutrients, and linked in series?

/Mr Lynn