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On Wednesday’s installment of “Meet the Press Daily,” host Chuck Todd kicked off the panel discussion about how gas prices will be a “potent” issue heading into the 2022 midterms, but Mitchell suggested Democratic lawmakers are becoming optimistic about the “politics” of the moment with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“It’s a potent one, but I really do think—in talking to members of Congress—that they now see the politics right now, and it may not last, that the American people are behind this,” Mitchell told Todd. “And more likely, are willing to take a hit at the pump. I don’t think it’s been sold adequately.”
“Well, if it means not bringing war here, right? Like, that’s another way to message it, I might argue,” Todd said.
“Yeah,” Mitchell responded. And ‘Putin’s price hike’ is a great way to message it.”
Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, argued that when the American people see the “devastating” pictures coming out of Ukraine, particularly the images of civilians being attacked at hospitals, voters are “willing to put up with” the surging prices at the pump, “at least the Democrats in Congress think.”
“I really thought that the Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was maybe premature in his new messaging that people aren’t blaming President Biden for this- yet,” Mitchell said. “And at least for the State of the Union, he managed to make the case.”
The New York Times struck a similar tone as Mitchell with a “fact check” claiming Republicans “wrongly blame Biden” on the rising gas prices, saying the factors impacting energy are “largely out of Mr. Biden’s control.”
The editorial board of The Washington Post even defended the Biden administration as it considers turning to authoritarians like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil as the U.S. bans imported energy from Russia.
“In the short term, President Biden has little choice but to turn to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela for more heavy crude oil,” the editorial board wrote on Wednesday. “The United States stopped importing Venezuelan oil in 2019 in response to widespread human rights abuses under President Nicolás Maduro. In wartime, Mr. Biden must make hard choices.”
“If he can get some political concessions from the regime, it could be worth lifting the ban on U.S. purchases from Venezuela and adding the 600,000 additional barrels per day it may be capable of producing to the global supply,” the board continued.” Mr. Biden has already sent envoys to Venezuela, and Mr. Maduro has freed two American prisoners.”