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Fox Business Network White House Correspondent Edward Lawrence drew a bemused double-take from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki — and laughter from several colleagues — for citing “free Peloton memberships for House staffers” in a question about President Joe Biden.

On Friday afternoon, Psaki took to the podium for the final time before Karine Jean-Pierre takes over as her successor, and fielded questions on a variety of topics — sometimes all at once.

Such was the case for Lawrence, who crammed so many reference points into the preamble for his question about Biden’s in-or-out-of-touchness that Psaki drew laughs by remarking on it:

MR. LAWRENCE: Yeah. I want to build on Josh’s question here. You know, CPI inflation is 8.3 percent. We know it’s hard to get baby formula. Gas and diesel fuel is now at record prices again today. House staffers are getting free Peloton memberships. A Monmouth poll says —

MS. PSAKI: Wow, there’s a lot packed into that list there you have. (Laughter.)

MR. LAWRENCE: Yeah, I know.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t know how it’s related. It’s a potpourri.

MR. LAWRENCE: Okay, it is potpourri. And — and it’s a wider view. A Monmouth poll shows that 79 percent of Americans believe the country is going in the wrong direction. So my question is: Is the President — as the head of the country, as the head of the Democratic Party — out of touch economically with Americans?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there was a lot packed in there. And I’m not entirely sure the root of your question, but I will do my best.

I would say first: The President’s top priority — and you heard him say this the other day — is addressing costs and addressing inflation for the American people. And he laid out a specific plan to do exactly that.

And he has taken a number of steps that would — to do exactly that, including lowering the cost of the Internet; ensuring we’re taking every step we can to bring down the cost of gas; taking steps to ease the supply chain — something he’s been working on from his first day in office; and he has proposed and advocated for and continue to fight for a reconciliation package that will lower significant costs for the American people.

I would say the contrast here is what the other side is offering, which, as you’ve heard me say many times but it’s worth repeating, is a plan by Chairman Scott that would raise costs on a hundred — on 75 million Americans who make less than $100,000.

So, I would say: For the American people, what they can know and understand is we all agree inflation is an issue; we all agree costs are too high. The question is: Who has a plan to address it?

MR. LAWRENCE: But on gas specifically, the Interior Secretary testified before the House Appropriations Committee that there was no plan to go forward with a five-year plan for oil drilling in the Gulf. They need that plan in order to open up leases down the road for that. We’ve se- — we saw the Department of Interior cancel a lease sale.

So, are there signals, you know, to bring down gas prices? Are there long-term —

MS. PSAKI: Well, we know the Department of Interior made quite clear that they canceled the Cook Inlet project because there was a lack of industry interest. That’s not actually the issue. The issue, if we take a step back, is that leasing and production offshore is a lengthier process, taking up to 10 years. Mo- — second, of the more than 10.9 million offshore acres currently under lease, industry is not producing on 8.26 million acres. That’s 75 percent that is non-producing. Of the 24.9 million onshore acres under lease, industry is not producing 12.3 million. That’s almost 50 percent. And there are almost 9,000 onshore permits.

The issue is not permits. There are plenty of places for oil — for oil companies to drill on. They’re not. That is the issue.

Watch above via The White House and Reuters.

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Tags: fox business network inflation jen psaki joe biden for the american people to do exactly as the head a monmouth poll a lot packed house staffers question to bring down the president inflation the cost i would say the country white house

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Christopher Morel and Brandon Hughes make splashy debuts in a 7-0 Chicago Cubs win after getting their 1st MLB call-ups

Hours after earning his first big-league call-up, Christopher Morel made a bold prediction.

During the seventh inning of the Chicago Cubs’ 7-0 win Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Morel told teammates Willson Contreras and Alfonso Rivas he would hit a home run in his first major-league at-bat. In that moment Morel didn’t know he would get to pinch hit in the eighth, but as he told manager David Ross: “If you’re going to play me, then I’ve got to be ready for this moment.”

Morel certainly seized his opportunity.

Called on to pinch hit with two outs, Morel quickly fell behind 0-2 versus Pirates right-hander Chase De Jong. He battled back to a full count and got all of an elevated 92 mph fastball, crushing it 417 feet to the left-field concourse. Morel did not hold back his emotions, tossing his bat toward the Cubs dugout and gesturing at his teammates as he rounded the bases.

He was so caught up in the moment, he forget to touch first base and had to double back.

“In this moment, I don’t think too much,” Morel said. “I just say, ‘Oh, my God.’”

Contreras pushed him up the dugout steps for a curtain call from the 30,478 fans at Wrigley Field. Morel stayed in the game to play third base in the top of the ninth and received a standing ovation as he took his position, prompting him to wave his hat to the crowd.

“You knew it was gone off the bat,” Ross said, “and shoot, man, that’s the stuff you dream about.”

Tuesday’s victory was the Cubs’ fourth in a row and sixth in eight games.

“There’s something about young guys coming up and have a little bit of spark, a little bit of energy,” Ross said.

Morel became the first Cub to homer in his first big-league at-bat since Contreras in 2016, also against the Pirates.

“Once I saw the ball going out, that was a no-doubter,” Contreras said. “That kid has some pop in his bat. And his numbers from Double A show he made a lot of contact, and when you make a lot of contact, good things are going to happen.

“Hopefully this is the start of a huge career for him.”

Morel’s electric home run followed another unforgettable MLB debut. Left-hander Brandon Hughes entered in the sixth after reliever Daniel Norris exited mid at-bat with right Achilles soreness. Hughes went on to pitch 1⅔ scoreless innings with no hits, one walk and five strikeouts.

Norris’ in-game injury meant Hughes’ warm-up for his big-league debut came on the Wrigley mound rather than out of sight under the bleachers. When Hughes saw Norris getting checked out by Ross and the trainer, he got up and grabbed a resistance band, not thinking he would get called into the game. Then the phone rang.

“They said, ‘Hughes,’ and it was like, ‘Whoosh,’” Hughes recalled. “That was my first time ever (coming in to warm up after an injury), so that was weird. They’re all telling me, take it slow, we’re going on your pace. So I took their advice, warmed up and I went at it.”

The emotions Hughes experienced on the mound ranged from nerves and butterflies to excitement. He channeled the energy into attacking the Pirates and throwing strikes, an extremely effective approach.

Hughes is the first pitcher in the modern era to record five or more outs in his major-league debut with all of them coming on strikeouts, according to STATS.

“I don’t even know how to react to that — that’s kind of wild,” Hughes said. “My stuff was working today. They were swinging and missing at it. That’s a wild stat.”

When the Cubs drafted Hughes in 2017, the 16th-round pick hoped one day to roam the outfield at Wrigley.

He finally got to do that Tuesday during batting practice. Except Hughes’ first big-league call-up came as a pitcher and not an outfielder. The 26-year-old lefty converted to pitching in 2019 and quickly ascended through the Cubs farm system.

Hughes’ and Morel’s big-league dreams came true amid a flurry of transactions.

The Cubs put outfielder Jason Heyward on the injured list without a distinction — an indicator it’s COVID-19-related — and optioned left-hander Conner Menez to Triple-A Iowa. Those moves created roster openings for Morel, called up from Double-A Tennessee, and Hughes, whose contract was selected from Iowa.

“He throws a lot of strikes and there’s a lot of deception,” vice president of player development Jared Banner said of Hughes. “Guys just don’t take comfortable swings. So I don’t know whether it’s natural or something specific that he’s learned along the way, but he’s had a tremendous amount of success.”

Hughes has not allowed a run in 16⅔ innings with 22 strikeouts and three walks between Double A and Triple A this year. He expected family, including his parents, and friends to be at Tuesday night’s game.

“It’s cool to see the guys that I came up with in the system get opportunities, throw in the games and have success,” Hughes said. “And that takes the nerves off of me a little bit knowing that others have come in and done the job. So I’m ready to do my job.”

Morel’s 40-man roster status and defensive flexibility — he has played everywhere except catcher and first base — made him an attractive option while Heyward is sidelined. Morel had a .306/.380/.565 slash line in Double A.

“He’s a really energetic, infectious player,” Banner said. “He can play all over the field, and that makes him really valuable. He can run, he can hit with power — he can do so many things on the field that this is a great opportunity for him.”

Morel, 22, received the news Monday night from Double-A manager Mike Ryan. His first phone call to share the news went to his parents.

“I never thought they were going to call me and make my dream here,” Morel said. “I feel confident with myself. I’m working hard, I’m having fun again. That’s why I’m here.”

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