The Washington Post

Rick Perry’s head-scratching TV ad

(AP Photo/Perry Presidential Campaign)

“That will create jobs and will reduce our reliance on oil from countries that hate America.”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his new television ad

Our colleague Nia-Malika Henderson, over at the Election 2012 blog, has already dissected Perry’s head-scratching pledge in his new TV ad to create 2.5 million jobs. (Briefly, that’s actually a very low bar for job creation in a presidential term.)

 So we want to focus on his notion that the United States gets its oil from countries that “hate America.”  This is also a head-scratching statement. Who could be on that list?


The Facts

 According to the Energy Department, here are the top petroleum importers to the United States through July of this year:


1. Canada   2,652 thousand barrels per day

2. Mexico  1,227 thousand

3. Saudi Arabia  1,162 thousand

4. Venezuela    1,015 thousand

5. Nigeria     915 thousand

6. Russia      614 thousand

7. Iraq   458 thousand

8. Algeria   425 thousand

9. Colombia 376 thousand

10. Angola   340 thousand

11. Brazil 249 thousand

12. Virgin Islands  189 thousand

13.  Ecuador 175 thousand

14.  United Kingdom  173 thousand

15.  Kuwait 168 thousand


Now, look at this list. Who hates America?

A substantial portion of the oil that comes to the United States is from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada. After that comes Mexico, our friendly neighbor to the south.

Saudi Arabia, which is third, is one of America’s closest allies (in fact, Texas oilmen often end up as the U.S. ambassador there.)

Okay, in fourth place is Venezuela, and Hugo Chavez, the leader there, often spouts off anti-American rhetoric. Maybe that’s whom Perry means? (We asked the Perry campaign several times for a list of the countries that “hate America” but did not get an answer.)

As you can see, the list of big oil importers drops off after that. The top five, after all, account for 68 percent of crude oil imports.

Presumably, Perry was trying to evoke images of the Arab Middle East, but the three countries there on the top-15 list — Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait — are U.S. allies. And in any case, the Middle East is not where the United States gets most of its oil.

Maybe Perry expects an attack from the Virgin Islands?


The Pinocchio Test

 As governor of Texas, Perry should know better than to pretend that the United States gets its oil from countries that hate it. In fact, the oil comes from our allies, whereas the country that does regard the United States as the “Great Satan” is not on the list. So this is a highly misleading line to insert in a television advertisement.

 Three Pinocchios

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Glenn Kessler has reported on domestic and foreign policy for more than three decades. He would like your help in keeping an eye on public figures. Send him statements to fact check by emailing him, tweeting at him, or sending him a message on Facebook.


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