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Hear How Energy Policy Helps Bush Put The ! In Jeb!

Jeb Bush speaks during a campaign rally earlier this month.
Ethan Miller
Getty Images
Jeb Bush speaks during a campaign rally earlier this month.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's energy levels have been an ongoing topic of conversation during the presidential campaign — probably much more than Bush would prefer.

Rival Donald Trump has repeatedly needled Bush for bringing a "low energy" to the campaign trail, even posting a fake advertisement on Instragram offering Bush as a sleeping aide.

We just have to unleash the animal spirits in Americans, and we will be America renewed again.

The digs clearly annoyed Bush, who earned an awkward low-five from Trump at the last debate after saying his Secret Service nickname would be "Eveready," because, "it's very high-energy, Donald. "

Well, there's at least one thing that amps up Bush's energy levels, and that's ... energy.

Bush was fired up Tuesday afternoon when he rolled out his energy platform during a visit to a natural gas-drilling company in Western Pennsylvania.

"I feel like I'm at the pulpit, like a tent revival meeting," Bush said at one point, while making the case to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, eliminate the domestic oil export ban, and scale back federal drilling regulations, among other steps.

Here are six things that got Bush especially ... energetic ... during the speech.

Praise Jesus for the stock market

"That's American capitalism, right, at its best," Bush said, when told that Rice Energy was publicly-traded. "It's not owned by one or two people. It's shared by everybody. Everybody's interest is aligned in the right way. Praise Jesus!"

"I get fired up when I see examples like this," Bush added.

Americans' 'animal spirits'

Speaking about the country's capacity for economic growth, Bush got a little philosophical. "We just have to unleash the animal spirits in Americans, and we will be America renewed again," he said. The two-term governor fed off the ensuing applause, adding, "Preach! I feel like I'm at the pulpit. It's like a tent revival meeting."

Making 'radical environmentalists' miserable

"Your success makes environmentalists miserable," Bush also told the energy-extracting crowd. "Not the common-sense environmentalists, but the radical ones. They don't like it." The comment was part of a larger argument Bush made: that keeping environmental regulations as low-cost as possible would allow for additional economic growth, which could then be tapped into to help protect environmental causes.

Bush's approach to hydraulic fracturing regulations mirrors many other Republican candidates' — he would support minimal federal rules on drilling, and instead defer to state laws and regulations.

The Keystone XL pipeline

Another area where every Republican candidate agrees: he'd direct the State Department to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil sands crude from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico. "Let me get this straight," Bush asked, mocking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent announcement that she opposes the project. "The XL pipeline's bad because ... I'm kind of thinking why. Well, it creates jobs in America. It connects us to North America to create a North American energy strategy. That doesn't seem like a bad idea. It's safer to come by pipeline rather by train, right?"

Property rights

In the middle of a riff on why the United States — and not other countries — has experienced a transformative shale-drilling boom over the previous decade, Bush launched into a rhapsody for private property ownership. "We were watching the men and women who do the leasing for the business," Bush said. "That's a robust market that only exists in America."

"Only in America do private landowners own the subsurface rights to the extent they do in this country. And that creates a dynamic energy sector. Because as prices go down, leases — prices go down, and you create opportunities that you guys take advantage of. It's uniquely American."

But those volatile land-leasing prices have been some of the heaviest sources of tension in places like Washington County, where Bush spoke. Depending on when a lease was offered — and how much information the leasing family had at the time — neighbors have been paid wildly different prices for the access to the gas underneath their feet.

Younger brothers

Bush spoke at a family-owned company, Rice Energy, headed by three brothers. "I want to mention Toby just for a little bit," Bush said at the beginning of his speech. "Because he's the second brother. And I always admired second brothers in families. I don't know about you."

The younger brother of President George W. Bush is, of course, hoping the electorate feels the same way.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
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