Bush asks for help

President Bush should not be forced to ask for favors from Saudi Arabia to help lower near-record prices at &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/07/17/32662.html ' target=_blank>American gas pumps, a senior Democratic congressman said on Saturday.

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts blamed the Bush administration's "failed energy policy" for the high cost of oil and called for a plan that focused on renewable technologies, energy efficiency and conservation rather than an expansion of oil and gas drilling in the United States. Bush, who hosts Saudi Crown &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/06/07/29906.html ' target=_blank>Prince Abdullah at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on Monday, acknowledged this week that the energy bill he has asked Congress to pass by August would not immediately reduce gas prices.

"The president is right to meet with this powerful man, but it is wrong that the leader of the United States must ask favors from a foreign prince," Markey said in the Democratic radio address.

Bush is feeling the political heat from a big rise in gasoline prices as public opinion polls show consumers are increasingly concerned. Last week, the average retail gasoline price hit a record $2.28 per gallon, informs Reuters.

The meeting is meant to be a relaxed occasion in which the leaders extend the long-held hand of friendship, but the American public has viewed the House of Saud with scepticism since the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/05/29789.html ' target=_blank>September 11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

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