CNN anchor Abby Phillip said that despite the White House’s attempts to rebrand the most recent and dramatic increases in gas prices as the “Putin Price Hike” — bound entirely to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — the American people do not appear to believe that.
During a panel discussion, which included Axios political reporter Hans Nichols, Phillip and Nichols agreed that no matter what good economic news the White House might have to offer — or what excuses they made to explain the bad news — the high prices at the gas pump were unavoidable, and they did not appear to be going anywhere.
“When inflation is where it’s at, when you see gas prices going where it’s at, we can talk about a jobs report here, we can talk about the latest PCE [personal consumption expenditures] numbers or the CPI [consumer price index], and all of us former Bloomberg reporters can really get into the weeds, right?” Nichols began.
“But there’s one number that they can’t really change right now,” he cautioned. “And that is what the placard says at the local gas station.”
Phillip pointed out that the White House had even attempted to label the rise in gas prices as the #PutinPriceHike — even bringing in TikTok influencers to help them spread that particular message — a move that did not seem to take hold in the way that the Biden administration might have liked.
“Look, when I’ve passed gas stations that say ‘blame Putin’ more than they say ‘Let’s go Brandon,’ I’ll know the White House has been successful in messaging,” Nichols replied.
“That is fascinating in its own right,” Phillip agreed, sharing the results of a recent poll that showed the messaging had failed. “Take a look at this Quinnipiac poll. Americans just don’t buy that this is related to the war in Ukraine, and most of it, frankly, is not. 41% say it’s Biden’s policies, just 24% say the war in Ukraine. 24% also say the oil and gas companies are raising prices. But the White House is trying to do both, blame Putin, blame the oil and gas companies, but Americans just don’t agree.”
In addition to blaming Putin, President Joe Biden and others in his administration have attempted to blame the rising gas prices on the oil companies themselves, claiming that many of them are sitting on thousands of unused land leases and allowing prices to rise for the American people while continuing to draw record profits for themselves and for their shareholders.