The tri-partisan trio of Sens. John Kerry (D), Joe Lieberman (I), and Lindsey Graham (R) have been working to hammer out a compromise energy-reform bill that can earn at least one Republican vote, and, with nobody sure yet what will be in it, the politics of energy reform appear quite delicate.
So when a Fox News story Thursday cited "senior administration sources" as labeling and criticizing an expected carbon fee on the transportation sector as a Graham-sponsored 15-cent-per-gallon gas tax, the reaction from both Graham and the White House was swift."The administration is working with Sens. Kerry, Lieberman and Graham to move forward bipartisan, comprehensive energy and climate legislation that creates clean energy jobs and reduces our dependence on foreign oil," a White House statement said, adding, "The senators don't support a gas tax, and neither does the White House."A statement from Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop said, "Sen. Graham does not support a gas tax. And the bill he is working on does not include a gas tax.""Somebody got ahead of themselves here," Kerry said later that afternoon. "Everybody's on the same page. Everybody's cool."