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Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Capitol Hill, March 16, 2011. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Can Congress Match Wits With A Nobel-Prize Winning Physicist?

Mar 17, 2011

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Frank James

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was on Capitol Hill Wednesday defending the Obama Administration's energy policies, including continued reliance on nuclear power despite what's happening in Japan.

As NPR'S Scott Horsley reported on Morning Edition, Chu parried questions from both Republicans and Democrats who expressed doubts about various aspects of the administration's policies.

Here was one especially good moment from Scott's report that showed why it can be entertaining to watch the wry and quick-witted Nobel laureate physicist fence with lawmakers:

SCOTT: Louisiana Congressman Bill Cassidy also complained to Secretary Chu about the Administration's plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Cassidy argues that alternative energy sources like wind and solar power get too much government help, considering their smaller share of the nation's overall energy mix.

CASSIDY: "How long can we subsidize solar and wind, and can we afford it, if we're going to increase it to 25% of our electric use?"

CHU: "Well, I certainly think wind and solar should not have any longer subsidies than oil and gas, which is about 80 or 90 years."

Touché.

This could've be a scene for a new TV ad featuring that annoying Rod Serling-lite Geico guy. "Can Congress match wits with a Nobel-Prize winning physicist?"

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