http://www.nytimes.com/library/politics/camp/062800wh-bush.html Bush Would Use Power of Persuasion to Raise Oil Supply By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude. "I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. "Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot." Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return. "Ours is a nation that helped Kuwait and the Saudis, and you'd think we'd have the capital necessary to convince them to increase the crude supplies," he said. Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: "The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' " He went on to suggest, as he did in answer to other questions, that voters should simply trust him. "I will be," he said in answer to his own question about whether he would be a successful president. "But until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective." Mr. Bush made his comments in a news conference here after a brief meeting with participants in a local private welfare-to-work program. This was his only public event of the day, which began with a fund-raising breakfast in New York that raised $3 million, private meetings with the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and then, after his news conference, ended with a private meeting with financial contributors at the Masco Corporation in Taylor, Mich. Accompanying Mr. Bush was the Michigan governor, John Engler, a Republican. Mr. Bush jokingly pre-empted a question about his vice-presidential selection process by saying Mr. Engler was on his short list and then adding: "What do you expect me to say? He's standing right here." On a more serious note, Mr. Bush said that he had disagreed with the Supreme Court's 7-to-2 ruling on Monday that upheld the reading of Miranda warnings to criminal suspects. "We should never undermine the right of a person arrested to have their rights read to them," he said. "I did believe, though, that voluntary confessions should be allowed without a Miranda reading. The court didn't agree with my position. I'm now going to uphold the law." As for how he would handle the rise in gasoline prices, he said he would not use the strategic petroleum reserves, saving them for a national emergency. He also said he did not support a repeal of the federal gasoline tax of more than 18 cents a gallon, saying he was worried about what effect that would have on the transportation budgets of the states. Mr. Bush said that the news on Monday that projections of the federal budget surplus were up to $4.2 trillion only confirmed his own earlier estimates. He said he did not expect to increase the size of his proposed tax cut -- $1.3 trillion over 10 years -- just because more money might be available. "I'm pleased with the way my plan now sits," he said. "Things may change over time." He brushed off President Clinton's proposal, driven by the new surplus estimates, that he would accept a Republican proposal to cut the marriage tax penalty in exchange for the inclusion of a prescription drug benefit in Medicare. "In terms of horse-trading with the Congress, it's up to the president and the Congress," Mr. Bush said. He was also asked to respond to remarks made this morning by Chris Lehane, press secretary to Vice President Al Gore, to reporters in Philadelphia. Mr. Lehane had criticized Republicans, and Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, in particular, for releasing reports last week that a Justice Department official had called for a special prosecutor to investigate Mr. Gore's fund-raising activities. Mr. Lehane said that the Republicans were "turning the U.S. Congress into a scandal-industrial complex" and that Mr. Bush was "the C.E.O." of that. Mr. Bush dismissed Mr. Lehane's comments, saying, "It's frankly the type of politics people in America are sick of, this kind of finger pointing, calling names and trying to divert attention." He returned to the subject after a subsequent question about how he would court independent voters in Michigan. He said he would "make the case that I'm the person that can change the tone of Washington, D.C.," and added, "Just give me a chance to be the president."