George Will Educates Bill Maher

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Bill Maher made a lot of noise over the weekend blaming President Obama, in part, for the Gulf Coast oil spill. But on Sunday, when he took his grievances on ABC's This Week, he ran into some opposition from conservative columnist George Will. Maher went on a tangent about how America should be more like Brazil, which "got off oil in the last 30 years." To Will, that assertion didn't quite ring true.

Will: I'd like to get back to Bill. Can you just explain to me in what sense Brazil got off oil?

Maher: I believe they did. I believe in the 70s, they had a program to use sugar cane ethanol and I believe that is what fuels their country.

Will: I think they still burn a lot of oil and have a lot of it offshore

Sounds like a good opportunity for a fact checker! Today PolitiFact weighs in with bad news for Maher:

In 2008, Brazil ranked No. 7 on the list of the world's countries that consume the most oil, using about 2.5 million barrels per day... Brazil also produces a lot of oil through drilling near its coasts... Maher was likely remembering Brazil's aggressive efforts to promote ethanol, and certainly Brazil has outpaced the United States in getting flexible fuel vehicles on the road. But Maher said, "Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years." Actually, Brazil still consumes a great deal of oil. It's also embarking on more offshore drilling in some of the deepest waters for exploration. Brazil is hardly "off oil." So we rate Maher's statement False.

(hat tip: Glynnis MacNicol)

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