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CNNFN Lou Dobbs Tonight Transcript

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Date:
Location: Phoenix, AZ


May 19, 2004 Wednesday

HEADLINE: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; CNNfn

GUESTS: Janet Napolitano, Diana Buttu, Jim Demint, Marcy Kaptur Janet Napolitano, Diana Buttu, Jim Demint, Marcy Kaptur

BYLINE: Ed Henry, Barbara Starr, Harris Whitbeck, Elaine Quijano ,Matthew Chance, Lou Dobbs, Lisa Sylvester, Kitty Pilgrim, Peter Viles, Christine Romans Ed Henry, Barbara Starr, Harris Whitbeck, Elaine Quijano ,Matthew Chance, Lou Dobbs, Lisa Sylvester, Kitty Pilgrim, Peter Viles, Christine Romans

HIGHLIGHT:
The first court case in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal arrives and a maximum jail sentence for the accused American soldier is handed down. In Gaza, almost 20 Palestinians are killed during an anti-Israeli protest. President Bush says he will not release oil from America's emergency reserves. The first court case in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal arrives and a maximum jail sentence for the accused American soldier is handed down. In Gaza, almost 20 Palestinians are killed during an anti-Israeli protest. President Bush says he will not release oil from America's emergency reserves.

BODY:

DOBBS: My guest tonight is one of the several governors who sent a letter to the president asking him to help ease record high gasoline prices. Arizona's governor, Janet Napolitano, and her constituents have seen one of the biggest spikes in gasoline prices in the country. The average price of a gallon of gas there has jumped 54 cents since March, $2.13 today. Governor Napolitano also wants the federal government to investigate whether price gouging is to blame.

She joins us tonight from Phoenix.

Governor, good to have you with us.

GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: Thank you.

DOBBS: What do you think will be revealed by an investigation into price gouging?

NAPOLITANO: Well, price gouging is a term of art.

What I have said is that there needs to be an investigation directed by the president to one of his executive agencies into the pricing of gasoline in this country and whether or not the market remains competitive. Now, we've seen a reduction in the number of refineries. We've seen a reduction in the number of independents, which can put competitive price pressure on.

We know that half the price of a gallon of gas is related to the OPEC price. Now, that's a foreign policy issue as much as anything. But the next big jump is at the refinery and distribution level. And no one can give you accurate data on that. No one has really investigated that in a way to say, look, do we still have a market that is working, that is price competitive, so that Arizona and American consumers are not paying unduly high prices for a gallon of gas?

DOBBS: Governor, as you know, President Bush today blamed Congress for not passing his energy legislation. Your reaction?

NAPOLITANO: Well, the last time I looked, both houses of the Congress were controlled by the president's party. So I don't know quite what he's complaining about.

But we have a short term and a long-term issue. The short-term issue is to investigate now why this spike, why this high, and why so long. And the second issue is a more long-term one. What can we do on the supply side to make this market more competitive? What can we do on the demand side to alleviate our overdependence on Mideast oil?

(CROSSTALK)

NAPOLITANO: And both of those things need to be directed at the national level.

DOBBS: Both parties, as you know, Governor, for the past 24 years have, in fact, done little to encourage serious conservation. Our dependence on foreign oil has risen under both parties, administrations of both parties. Why should we believe that one party or the other now is about to get serious?

NAPOLITANO: Well, in a way, it shouldn't be a partisan issue. They don't check your voter registration when you fill up your tank at the gas station. But I think what we have...

DOBBS: They'll sure check it in November, governor.

NAPOLITANO: Yes. I think what we're seeing, clearly illustrated here, though, is gasoline prices going up inexorably and very suddenly with really no warning, and no clear explanation given at any level as to why.

You get kind of pablum responses, well, we have the Mideast situation and Venezuela. And oh, there is a refinery down in California. There's always a refinery down in California. But what you don't have is an in-depth exploration of the competitiveness in the market combined with a long-term strategy. And we need one.

DOBBS: Governor, I want to address one thing, you are amongst the governors whose have had the courage to order that state contracts could not go to companies outsourcing work for residents in your state. The Chamber of Commerce has accused you of being anti-business. Your reaction?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I'm very pro-business. I have great support in the business community. But we had-this is the kind of situation we're dealing with where a call center that employed 250 people in Chandler, Arizona, closed and if those people were calling our Department of Economics Security to find out about their unemployment benefits, that call was being routed to India. And that kind of thing paid for by state tax dollars is something we've put a stop to.

DOBBS: Govern Napolitano, thank you for being with us here tonight.

Copyright 2004 Cable News Network

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