Briefing Bites: Franklin Graham, Gas Prices and Syrian Militarization
February 21st, 2012
02:48 PM ET

Briefing Bites: Franklin Graham, Gas Prices and Syrian Militarization

At the beginning of Tuesday's briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference on Sunday March 4th in Washington D.C. The next day, Obama is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

For much of the rest of the briefing, Carney was asked to respond to comments made on television and on the campaign trail.

Early Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", Rev. Franklin Graham questioned the president's commitment to Christianity, saying he "can't say categorically" that the president is not a Muslim.

"Under Islamic law, Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam," Graham said. "Because his father was a Muslim. Grandfather was a Muslim. That's just the way it works. That's the way they see it. He says he didn't grow up that way and he believes in Jesus Christ. So the Muslim world, Islam sees him as a son of Islam."

Graham also said "Islam has had a pass under Obama," and the president "seems more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries."

Carney was asked specifically about Graham's comments but passed on the opportunity to take the issue up directly:

I did meet with the president this morning for about 45 minutes and amazingly he didn’t bring this up because he was actually talking about policy issues that he believes are the most important things he can do and he can focus on as president. And that they are the most important things for the vast majority of the American people who are concerned about paying the rent or the mortgage, sending their kids to school, making ends meet. You heard him speak earlier today at the payroll tax cut extension event where he firmly believes that getting an extra forty dollars in every pay check is of vastly greater significance to most Americans than someone’s opinion expressed on cable television about his personal faith which again he has spoken about explicitly as recently as a few weeks ago at the national prayer service.

Earlier Carney was asked about other criticisms of the president's faith made last week by GOP candidate Rick Santorum, and he was a bit more expansive in his response:

I would simply point you and others to statements the president made at the National Prayer Breakfast not long ago where he spoke very explicitly about his own Christian faith, and then I would say that this president is focused on doing thinks that he believes the American people elected him to do, which is work with Congress or independently to take every measure and every action he can to grow the economy and create jobs. To protect the middle class, to help this country recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. You guys can decide and your editors and your bookers what's a story and what's not. This president's focused on his job as president, getting this country moving in the right direction, ensuring the recovery which is underway continues forward, that we continue the positive economic growth that we've had, that we continue the 23 straight months of private sector job growth that we've had – over 3.7 million jobs created – private sector jobs created in the last 23 months. Those are issues that the president is focused on. Those are the issues that the president believes the American people are focused on, and want their representatives in Washington and those who represent them in the White House to focus on.

Reporters also asked Carney about another hot topic of political debate – gas prices. He reiterated that domestic oil production has increased every year of Obama's presidency, and he pointed to "millions of new acres" opened for oil and gas exploration over the last three years as evidence that the administration was seriously addressing the issue.

There are no magic solutions to rising oil prices and the pain that Americans feel at the pump. This is – the fact is that the president is very aware of the impact that the global price of oil has on families and this is not something that this administration discovered or rediscovers every spring as some politicians do. As you're aware, Jake, oil production in the United States has increased every year that this president has been in office.

On Syria and recent calls from GOP senators for the U.S. to arm the opposition movement there, Carney said that the U.S. continues to push for a "political solution."

We don't want to take actions that would contribute to the further militarization of Syria because that could take the country down a dangerous path. But we don't rule out additional measures that – working with our international partners – that the international community might take if the international community should wait too long and not take the kind of action that needs to be taken to ensure that Assad steps aside, to ensure that a peaceful democratic transition can take place in Syria. So I'm not ruling out potential future actions, but there is an opportunity that still exists we believe for a peaceful transition to occur in Syria and we don't want to contribute to the further militarization there.

Topics: Briefing Bites • Faith • Gas prices • Syria

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. John

    Hey libs, just treat BO like you did Bush over gas prices. That would be fine.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Risky

      You mean THE Bush that started the war in Iran? YOU'RE RIGHT, that totally wouldnt have affected gas prices. Especially now that the cause and effect of that war affects us today in 2012, where Iranians are back-lashing by disrupting the oil trades. AND SOMEHOW thats Obama's fault. Stuff like that only makes sense to John and his kind.

      February 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • NObama 2012

        You aparently forgot...9/11. Also, Sr Bush had experience in the middle east and far east dating back to the 50s...and he had input in the middle did many many very well experienced advisors from both sides of the isle. We went in to Iraq to stabilize the middle east. Bush did not do this alone..most politicians on both sides of the isle were with him...this was when we had leadership not the divisive leftist sophmoric president we now have. The WMDs were a political ploy...we had to get in there and settle things down. NOW, we have big problems and the middle east may just fall into anarchy and the world with them. This is serious. You had better pray to God this don't happen.

        February 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Risky

        First of all, I dont think 9/11 had anything to do with Iran. At least a logical thinker would tell you Bush invaded the wrong place. Speaking of Bushes; what does Bush Sr's experience have to do with his son? Stablize the middle east you say? Werent we going to Afghanistan to look for terrorist because of 9/11? SOMEHOW we invaded Iran...I didn't forget anything, you just need to organize your BS before posting.

        February 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • NObama 2012

        Afganistain is no real problem to us...they have no oil. They are a tribal country who hates centralized govt..a waist of our time. We have had a vested interest in the middle east as have the rest of the has been volitle since the begining of history...many cultures, tribes, and etc.. We have no busines trying to democratize the middle east...all we can do is try to keep the lid on...that is why we have played ball with their leaders..even Sadam. I had a former WW2 intel officer and govt operative tell me 30 years ago "If the average American citizen knew how dangerous and volitle the middle east is to them they would not sleep nights." It takes alliances, friendships, and mutual respect to deal with these matters...and we don't have the level of experience in our foreign policy today to manage this... We have a recklass and scattered and arrogent Administration as never seen in power today and it is beginning to show.

        February 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Risky

        If it was all about the oil, then why did you bring up 9/11? What happened to the twin towers and Iran are two different things. I can theorize that Bush invaded Iran to get their oil, and then blame it on the 9/11 attack. Other than that, I see no connection.

        And your mentioning of respect, alliances, and friendship is all this administration upheld when it comes to foreighn policies. All I see in your posts are twisted facts to defend Bush, and then nonsensical emotional opinions when it comes to Obama. You can't even back up your opinions on Obama without twisting things to your favor. Which makes this little bach and forward thing we're having pretty much a waste of time.

        February 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • Brian

        NObama 2012: No one has forgotten 911. No have we forgotten that Iraq was not involved or that the top 20 or so people responsible are dead. Perhaps you think, like the 3 of the GOP candidates, that bombing Iran would lower gas prices.

        February 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • Brian

        Is there a war in Iran?

        February 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ Nobrains George W. Bush went into Iraq for war profiteering and non-existent WMD. Al Qaeda was never in Iraq, and Iraq was not the instigator of the 9/11 attack. Actually George W. Bush knew Afghanistan was going to be a long hard slog, and Iraq would be an easier fight than taking on the armed Taliban. Iraq looked a better location for war profiteering.

        February 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
      • Neil

        Why is it that all the bad happening in the U.S. right now is still Bush's fault, but all the good, is Obama's credit. The man has been in office for three years. At what point doe she get to take some of the blame?

        I have never heard any Lib say a single bad word about Obama, but I have heard plenty of GOPers bag on Bush when he did do things worng. I have heard Bush get blamed for things by all sides, but never a bad word from the Dems about the current Prez.

        Why is that?

        February 22, 2012 at 12:38 am |
      • John

        So Jean, when BO does almost the same thing by sending US troops to follow NATO into Syria (you noticed I said our troops will follow, not lead) I assume the hypocrisy of you and your lib friends will have you supporting BO on entering the war?

        February 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |
      • John

        One more thing Jean – why is it that libs take the term "lib" as a negative when they are called it? Republicans don't take offense at repub, conservatives don't take offense at "conservative" so what is with you libs?

        February 22, 2012 at 9:04 am |
      • John

        Brian, more lib lies. You actually heard 3 GOP candidates (how about 1?) say bombing Iran would lower gas prices? I thought not.

        February 22, 2012 at 9:09 am |
      • Vikas

        I live in Fairfield , CA. that is the Northren part. I live in Northren CA inland area with some ocean cielufnne, summer days are hot between 90 to 103F & winter days between 40 to 50 F.After reading where you are all from I'm not sure I picked the right color. Does any of that sound like wear any of you live?

        April 3, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Brian

      John, short of starting a war in the middle east the President,Bush, Obama or otherwise, has very little direct control over oil prices. Strategic moves like domestic exploration or approving pipelines take years to have any effect. Also, oil prices are set worldwide not just in the US.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • John

        Brian, go back and read my first post. What I said was I wanted libs to treat BO like they did Bush over gas prices. Libs killed Bush over the rising cost of gas during his administration. What was good for Bush should be good for BO. Given the way this site exploded I would say the libs agree with me that Bush was hammered unfairly over gas prices. That is the bottom line I wanted to get to with my first post. Instead, we get these libs bashing Bush, calling posters names and trying to defend BO. Typical libs... talking down to others when they are the ones wrong from the onset.

        February 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Trace

      John John, is there a possibility you missed econ 101? How could Obama possibly be responsible for the rising gas prices. Even though Iran only supplies something like 4% of the entire global market for crude, the speculators drive price on fears of disruption. If all of the GOP candidates had their way, with the support of knuckle draggers like you, the price of a barrel of crude would be at about $200 per. Only a president with rocks for brains would attack a country like Iran when there are clear implications of price gauging.....OH wait, Didn't your hero, the genius Dubya do just that in Iraq, and even said "...this war on te-rrrr will pay for itself" poor Dubya couldn't read the word terror nor pronounce it...but I'd bet you voted for that kind of expert foreign policy I right?

      where's "NoBrains" and "Howee-duh" to support your vaccous stupidity?

      February 22, 2012 at 2:11 am |
      • John

        Do you remember BO praising the efforts in the middle east? How about recovery summer? Take a look at Iran, Syrya, Libya, Nigeria and S.Sudan. Now that mess has turned into a bloody winter and gotten worse under THIS ADMINISTRATION!! Blame Bush all you want – it seems to be all Libs can offier. I'd prefer to have a commander and chief who feels they are responsible. Not one who points fingers at anything and everything, including a president who hasn't been around for 3 YEARS...

        February 22, 2012 at 8:46 am |
      • John

        And, btw, All I said was tread BO as you treated Bush. The same fears existed under Bush, but you libs tend to forget things that hurt your argument.

        February 22, 2012 at 8:48 am |
      • John

        One more thing – BO was the one that said "energy necessarily needs to go up in price", not the GOP. Stop calling other people names you coward. You libs hide in the basement and collect entitlements so there is not wonder 1. that you find it easy to call people names who disagree with you (I assume because you are a coward and can't face people), and 2. you support the president who has increased entitlements to a level never seen before where almost 50% of the population TOTALLY lives off the government.

        February 22, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  2. NObama 2012

    blah blah blah.. our petro production went from 9.5 million gallons a day in 2009 to 7.5 million last year. And the Saudis cut production in December even as obama begged them not to. $5 a gallon will soon be a buy...if you can get it.

    Don't forget obama wrote in his book "I will stand with the Muslims..etc etc." Believe nothing he says today and about half of what he wrote...if you want the truth you will have to get off your hind quarters and go find it.

    If you think we have economic problems now wait until Israel lock and loads their tactical NKs...when Iran and others go after them. Our obama lead middle eastern policy is about to reveal itself..we are an inch from economic melt down as a result. All you need to do is study the bios of the people handeling our foreign policy to understand why this is happening... We are in one huge mess and we have to depend on a bunch of leftist radicals, whom no one in the world trusts, to get us back on track.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Risky

      Cool story bro.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • jean2009

      "Barack Obama says U.S. oil production last year was highest since 2003"
      U.S Oil Production form 2003-2010
      2003: 2,073,453,000
      2004: 1,983,302,000
      2005: 1,890,106,000
      2006: 1,862,259,000
      2007: 1,848,450,000
      2008: 1,811,817,000
      2009: 1,956,596,000
      2010: 2,011,856,000

      "North American Oil Output Could Top 40 Year Old Peak" by Tom Fowler, Houston Chronicle September 28, 2011

      "Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Announces 2011 Results, Record Production of 187.5 Bcfe".
      Published:The Sacramento Bee = PR Newswire on February 20, 2012

      February 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • John

        Good numbers Jean – and we all know this production was accomplished in spite of BO and his administration. This Administration has done nothing to impact these numbers in a positive way. And, as disingenuous as you are being I am sure you know what this administration has done in this area (closing coal mines, not allowing fracking, not allowing pipelines, investing in drilling in other countries instead of here, pushing their green agenda at a cost of 28 billion with nothing to show, etc.) to help this situation in the future. NOTHING BUT SPEND...

        February 22, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • jean2009

      @Nobrains2012 Summation of the above facts makes you an idiot and a liar. Frankly when it comes to believing I think people have a hard time believing anything you post. With your lack are a total waste of space.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • Howard

        The Rev. Franklin Graham says President Barack Obama has “given Islam a pass,” including ignoring atrocities against Christians in the Muslim world — so much so that the evangelist says he cannot “categorically” say Obama is not a Muslim.

        February 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Howee like you Franklin Graham is an idiot....although that is probably and insults to idiots everywhere.

        February 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
      • John

        Jean, why can't libs have a discussion without calling others names?

        February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Trace

      ...see what I mean, NoBrain, you are amazingly inaccurate, born under a rock, or just the epitome of couldn't find a fact if it walked in and sat down in front of you...., and you continue to do this type if insanity with every stroke of the keyboard. Aren't you even in the least bit embarass being SO wrong ALL THE TIME? What type of turd blossom could even fathom such ignorance?

      February 22, 2012 at 2:19 am |
      • John

        Hateful libs. America has seen your true colors...

        February 22, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • GOBAMA

      Oil Production went down in the US not because of Obama But because it all spilled into the gulf of Mexico. if you dont believe me go take a look along the coast of Louisiana and you'll find where the oil went.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  3. Davilon

    It's not even summer yet, and gas prices are already soaring. The national average for a gallon of gasoline hit $ 3.57 this week. Will rising gas prices impede Obama re – election?

    February 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Trace

      Only people that didn't quite make it through High School would blame Obama for the rising gas prices....Most of them will be voting GOP because of the cro-magnin appeal of that parties policies...No Solutions, Just run around crying "socialism" and keep taxes low for the Job Creators shipping them over seas

      The hope of this nation is in the hands of those that can actually think and thus vote: Obama / Biden 2012

      February 22, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  4. Leslie

    Billy Graham should be ashamed of himself. Has he forgotten that he himself is a Gentile yet through his belief in Christ, God has made him a son. So too does this gift from God extend to President Obama. If he says he has accepted Christ as saviour it doesn't matter what Muslim belief teaches. According to the bible the blood of Jesus supercedes it all. Wow Billy Graham, very surprised and very disappointed.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Franklin Graham is a disgrace to christianity and to his fathers reputation. If not for his father's coat tails, he'd probably be rotting in some gutter instead of spewing his hypocritical religious hooey.

    I have more doubt about his christianity than I do President Obama's.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • jean2009

      Franklin Graham is a disgrace to mankind.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  6. Lawrence

    When did God make Franklin Graham His Judge. I was taught as a Christian not to judge other people especially about their faith in Jesus. Barack Obama says he is a Christian and that is good enough for me and I believe he is a Christian.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  7. hazel steward

    Wake up obama has nothing to do with the cost of gas. As the oil runs out the prices will go up. better to start changing to other resources now why we still can so it won't be such a hard change over. why line the rich price gougers pockets? lets save our selves and our planet. it is the only home we have.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  8. thereik1

    And who grants anyone, the authority to determine who is a Christian and who is not? By Franklin Graham's logic a Christian missionary wastes his/her time proselytizing to Muslims because even if the converted were to make a public confession of their new found faith, having been born of Muslim parents immediately 'disqualifies' them from being accepted as Christians. It is about the most ridiculous position anyone who presumes to call himself a 'Man of God' can hold. Mr. Graham cannot hide his disdain of this man – the President – but in doing so, he compromises his own legitimacy as a Christian.
    When Jesus' detractors sought to trap him into holding a position on political matters, they did so by asking if it was right for them to pay taxes. We know what Jesus' response was. He said "...render onto Ceaser what is Ceaser's, and to God what is God's". My understanding of this statement is that Jesus made a clear statement of separating matters of political relevance, (power, policy, taxation, etc) from matters of spiritual relevance and importance. Very few Christian leaders in history have heeded his teaching on this issue. It is why many people are disgusted by religion – seeing it as another form of evil to be eschewed rather than embrace. Bah!!

    February 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    always had the most respect for billy graham because he could work with all the presidents. Sorry I can/t say the same for his son. who is apparently owned by the repo party. The thing that made billy great was that he focused on religious offering and prayer not politics. I never heard that man make any comments against any president yet he offered to pray for all of them His son is a disgrace.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Sunny

      Get them first of all to manage to build prepor stable house on their own individual land, than get them into education, than ones the children are grown up, send them abroad to earn more money, than they can come back home and spend all that money on their parents, and fix up their villages with better planting systems and shops etc,avoid mac donalds and fast food chains in general

      July 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  10. Octa Lim

    Franklin Graham, do you have any proof that Obama gave free pass to Moslem? Why don't you ask Bin laden?

    February 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  11. Jack DW

    You are a fool if you drive a vehicle that gets less than 40mpg at this point. And as for those with memory issues, gas was over $4/gallon when Bush Jr was President too. Everyone had best get used to it: scientists told you 15 years ago this was coming, and it wont be cheap ever again, as China (1.4 billion people) and India (1.2 billion people) are buying cars left & right. India alone has a middle-class larger than the ENTIRE population of the USA. Are you really dumb enough to think we have that much oil to satisfy this demand for cheap? Those days are OVER.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  12. ida clinkscale

    God is the judge of all of our hearts: he is the only one that knows who we really are: judge not that you will be judge the same. Mr. graham

    February 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Elmer

      :I precisely disered to thank you very much again. I do not know what I would've taken care of in the absence of those advice documented by you over that situation. It seemed to be a real distressing circumstance in my position, however , being able to see the skilled style you treated it took me to cry over happiness. Extremely happier for your assistance and thus believe you find out what an amazing job that you are putting in training the rest with the aid of your web page. Most probably you haven't come across all of us.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  13. geggyg

    Jsus;s mother was Jewish , and as a matriachal religion , the religion passes from mother to child in the orhodox beliefs , So according to Rev Graham , he should not be considered as a christian because of of family links to judaism

    February 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  14. Neil

    Why is there nothing abou tthe earmarks on CNN? as reported today.

    The Heritage Foundation has issued a new report that charges the Obama administration sent presidential earmarks, taxpayer dollars, to Democratic lawmakers to help convince them to vote for controversial proposals such as cap and trade and the health care bill.

    Where's the news about that on CNN?

    February 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  15. Neil

    The Heritage Foundation has issued a new report that charges the Obama administration sent presidential earmarks, taxpayer dollars, to Democratic lawmakers to help convince them to vote for controversial proposals such as cap and trade and the health care bill.

    Where's the news about that on CNN?

    February 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  16. Pissed off poster

    Why is it that all the bad happening in the U.S. right now is still Bush's fault, but all the good, is Obama's credit. The man has been in office for three years. At what point doe she get to take some of the blame?

    I have never heard any Lib say a single bad word about Obama, but I have heard plenty of GOPers bag on Bush when he did do things worng. I have heard Bush get blamed for things by all sides, but never a bad word from the Dems about the current Prez.

    Why is that?

    February 22, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  17. Trace

    Wow...If Frank "the fool" Graham represents the so called religious leaders of this country, then I would say only vapid trailer park, tea party fake news triumpherant would be the only ones able to enter the pearly gates of He11. I say good riddens to them all...I hope its good and hot for these idiots. These false prophets embarass everyone in this country. Give them the stage and they can only make fools of themselves; while the entire world is watching no less.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Bais

      sort of they put a cap on it, from what I know, and it's stopped but aaplrentpy it could start up again since the cap is a somewhat of a temporary fix. I'm not exactly sure if it's completely stopped or if some is still leaking out but from what I know, it's mostly contained.

      April 3, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  18. dreamer96

    We should thank Iran...for forcing us to develop oil alternatives...We missed the chance back in the 1970's with the oil embargo...when the average price of gas was just 25 cents and jumped to one dollar...we now have many options...

    If we offered the big coal, and natural gas power plants a tax break for building Algae farms near their plants to feed off the CO2 in their exhaust...thus cleaning up the CO2 from the plant and growing green-oil...that would be worth a tax cut or 15% tax rate on bonds to build those algae farms...or the capital gains earned from a renewable energy ...

    They could also be offered the same tax breaks to work with pure hydrogen generation plants built near by to create pure hydrogen use AC, or DC electrical current and water...That pure hydrogen could be mixed with the CO2 from the coal or natural gas power plants to make methane gas ...what we call natural gas is 90% methane...and is safer to pipe and handle then pure hydrogen gas...the Power Plant could even sell the CO2 to the pure hydrogen generation plant or buy the pure hydrogen and sell the methane...

    Develop cellulose...or pure hydrogen on demand for our cars and trucks...better electric cars..better hybrid cars and trucks...the rail road have had hybrid diesel electric with direct electric drive since the 1950's ...if we use an overdrive in these systems and put them in cars and trucks we reduce the current demands for highway driving and increase the range of battery driving or reduce the load on the generators..

    Many things...ocean current electric generators off Florida's coast where strong currents run...many things to get off oil..

    February 22, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  19. Rachel

    Created or saved? If you ask the Govt, saved jobs is an actual aisttstic, however unproven. I think a better question is, how much money from stimulis could of been sent to each un-employed person vs. sending it to pet pork projects and campaign coffers? 800billion divided by 10% of the country (3.3 million)= $ 242,000 (rounded down) Per unemployed worker. Really? and we still have people on food stamps while we give stimulis money to groups to count ants and study butterfly mating. Was this answer helpful?

    April 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |