Where is President Obama Getting His Talking Points for Keystone XL? Not From His Own Administration

President Obama “largely stuck to his talking points” on Keystone XL during his appearance on the Colbert Report last night.  The big question we’ve been asking at OSFC for months is: where is President Obama getting these talking points?  Certainly not from his own administration.

President Obama clearly still hasn’t read his own State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL, which has answered all the points he raised on the show. After more than six years of study and five environmental impact evaluations, the State Department concluded that Keystone XL would not be an export pipeline; it would create 42,100 jobs; and, most importantly, it passes the president’s climate test.

It looks like Stephen Colbert has been paying attention though.  As he said,

“Let’s talk about the Keystone XL pipeline. … The American people want it. It’s going to create jobs. The State Department says it’s not going to raise the pollution in the atmosphere. You’re going to sign that, right?”

We recently pointed out that fact checkers have consistently called out the president for getting it wrong on Keystone XL.  Just a few weeks ago, the Washington Post Fact Checker said that President Obama’s claim that Keystone XL crude would go “everywhere else” but the United States “earns Three Pinocchios. We nearly made it Four Pinocchios.

The Washington Post Fact Checker also rightly gave President Obama “Two Pinocchios” last year for giving a “low-ball estimate” on job numbers.  On that point, the Fact Checker added, “Ordinarily, we would expect the president to cite an estimate from his own State Department, rather than a think tank opposed to the project.”  The Tampa Bay Times Politifact said that President Obama’s job numbers were simply “false.”

Even more absurd is that just last week, President Obama claimed that he was “embarrassed” that the United States is “falling behind” countries like China in the construction of infrastructure.  He said this while has taken more than six years just to make a decision on a pipeline that would provide the infrastructure needed to strengthen our energy security and economy.  Of course, the jobs that would be created by building any kind of infrastructure would be temporary – but those jobs are a lifeline to construction workers.  As one union member, David Barnett from Oklahoma put it, “We’ve made a living all our lives off temporary jobs.” That’s why unions have held pro-Keystone XL rallies across the country.

As Colbert rightly put it, “The American people want [Keystone XL].”  After more than six years, it’s about time that President Obama read his own State Department’s report, retire the talking points that have been shown to be wrong time and time again, and finally approve Keystone XL.

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