If you want to know when the economy is making a comeback, keep a watchful eye on the frequency of high oil and gas price reports in the news.

Throughout 2007 and the first half of 2008, viewers were inundated with high gas and oil price reports on cable and broadcast news. But since hitting $147 back in July 2008, oil prices have plummeted into the low-$40 range mid-January and so has the frequency of doom-and-gloom oil warnings.

However, crude has since rallied into the upper-$50s. And, as crude has rallied, predictions of oil hitting unfathomable heights appear to be making a comeback as well. CNBC's May 8 "The Kudlow Report" considered that $300-a-barrel oil was a possibility.

If CNBC on-air talent has really had their hands tied by General Electric and NBC management on criticizing the current administration's economic policy, you couldn't tell it from watching Rick Santelli and Larry Kudlow.

 On CNBC's April 24 "The Call," Santelli expressed his frustration with an overreaction by the government to solve the financial crisis when Kudlow asked him about the expansion of bailout obligations from the original TARP bailout price tag $750 billion to the $3 trillion.

"Listen - I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't say all that," Santelli said. "Do I disagree with it? Probably not. But, I'll take it a step farther - in the beginning, whether it was the commercial paper program, there was a need just like babies have a need for milk. But I don't need to drink a couple of gallons anymore."

It had been one of the many points of contention against CNBC by the left-wing attack machine - that "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow was using his show as a platform to make a run at the U.S. Senate in 2010 against Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.

Well, they're going to have to find another way to try to marginalize Kudlow, as they have with other CNBC personalities. Kudlow announced on his March 24 broadcast that he would not seek a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2010.

The CNBC host explained he was approached by the Republican Party to be a candidate, but said he never considered it "a serious proposition."

"Alright folks, tonight - I want to talk to you for a quick moment about me," Kudlow said. "Several weeks ago, I was approached by the Republican Party to consider a run for the U.S. Senate in the great state of Connecticut. It was a flattering conversation and one that I thought about, but to me it was never really a serious proposition."

Is President Barack Obama's administration showing hints it is losing confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? CNBC's Larry Kudlow said the signs are suggesting as much.

The host of "The Kudlow Report" said in an appearance with CNBC On-Air Editor Charlie Gasparino on his March 17 broadcast that a statement put out earlier today by the administration, and placed at the top of the Drudge Report, hinted this was the beginning of the end for Geithner.

"You know, statements out of the blue - statements like this are what I call a real bad leading indicator that Geithner's time, days may be numbered," Kudlow said. "It may not happen in the next week, but it may happen."

The statement was made in relation to the Treasury Department's handling of the brouhaha surrounding the $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Could this be a sign of things to come?

Now that CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli has mysteriously disappeared from the spotlight after his criticism of President Barack Obama's mortgage proposal in February and now that CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has been marginalized after his lackluster appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on March 12, could the new target of the Obama machine and the left and their accomplices in the media be CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow?

James Rainey, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, set his sights on Kudlow in his March 13 column. Kudlow's show is one of the last vestiges of pro-free market capitalism left at a time when populism has become the theme of the day.

Rainey's column, headlined as a critique of CNBC focused on two personalities - Kudlow and Cramer, even though Cramer has been raked over the coals since he made his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."

KudlowAndSantelli0209.jpgAdvantage Rick Santelli -- and Larry Kudlow.

CNBC reporter Santelli's Thursday morning "Shout Heard Round the World" (CNBC's term) objecting to the Obama administration's mortgage modification program on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange quickly went viral, and struck two nerves. First, it ignited a groundswell of support from the over 90% of the of the nation that pays its bills and plays by the (normal) rules. The other nerve it struck was at the White House, whose spokesman Robert Gibbs struck back with a level of poorly concealed fury and contempt that I don't think I've seen publicly displayed by any other administration in my lifetime.

Larry Kudlow had Santelli as a guest on CNBC's Kudlow Report Friday night (CNBC video here; YouTube here [HT Scott's Slant]).  As one would fully expect by this time, Santelli made a few huge, emotionally-charged points of his own. The gratifying stunner is Kudlow's passion in the final third of the interview, where he sounded the alarm over freedom of the press, basic respect, and bullying.

Looking around the web, at least at this point, this interview has gained relatively little exposure, leaving the distinct and incorrect impression that Gibbs has the rhetorical upper hand.

No way. The CNBC pair of Santelli and Kudlow has the White House on its heels. Common-sense, passionate, principled assertions rooted in truth will tend to do that. Here's the full transcript (bolds are mine):

"CNBC Reports" host Larry Kudlow believes free-market capitalism is the best path to prosperity. Too bad CNN "Lou Dobbs Tonight" host Lou Dobbs doesn't.

Dobbs attacked Kudlow during the Jan. 14 broadcast of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" for commenting on a dinner meeting of conservative pundits at the home of Washington Post columnist George Will on Jan. 13. Kudlow was not included in person or by phone to respond to Dobbs' criticism.

"This is Larry Kudlow - one of the folks invited to a conservative fest with the president-elect last night," Dobbs said. "I'd like to just share, everybody - what a Larry Kudlow-conservative person does after meeting with the president-elect."

Dobbs cited a few lines from Kudlow's appearance on CNBC's Jan. 14 "The Call" - "He is charming, he is terribly smart, bright, well informed. He has a great sense of humor." Then Dobbs skipped moments in Kudlow's exchange with "The Call" co-host Melissa Francis and added - "He's so well informed and he loves to deal with both sides of an issue."

Feeling a little bailout fatigue? Tired of the assault on the taxpayer from the federal government to pacify those influenced by the United Auto Workers? CNBC's Larry Kudlow feels your pain.

Call this red meat for the troubled anti-bailout soul. Kudlow, now performing a role as a co-host on CNBC's mid-morning program "The Call," blasted the Union Auto Worker, President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and anyone else associated with $17.4 billion in loans for auto companies announced earlier today on Dec. 19.

"This is a full-up pooper scooper for the American taxpayer, which now owns General Motors," Kudlow said. "We're going to have a GM cabinet. Barack Obama is going to be the new car czar because Bush basically pushed this pooper scooper his way."

On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?

 On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia.  Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:

CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.

MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.

Sex sells, even during a presidential election. But that doesn't mean journalists have to be happy about it.

CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernen took a moment during a panel discussion September 2 to take a shot at the onslaught of coverage over presumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy.

You know as a member of the media I'm just kind of embarrassed with the media. The media says, "Yeah it shouldn't matter, it's not going to matter, we're not going to cover it" and then they put it on the cover of every paper.

Earlier in the broadcast Kernen told chief Washington correspondent John Harwood he did not think the family incidence was as big a deal as the media was making it out to be:

Felt a little bit like the guy in Casablanca, shocked, you know: teen sex in Alaska, John. Probably not that much of a shocker I guess, right? Not a whole lot. I guess bowling, yeah, It's a little lonely probably up there, right, John? ... I don't understand everybody at the same time saying that this is not going to be a big deal ... the press is going to be responsible about this, Barack Obama please don't make anything of this, but then it's the cover of every paper like it, you know, like matters.

While a lot of the members of the mainstream media were scratching their heads, trying to figure out just who Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was, CNBC actually came through with an almost immediate positive response.

The August 29 broadcast of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" featured two of the network's prominent personalities analyzing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's choice of a running mate. "Closing Bell" host Maria Bartiromo and "Kudlow & Company" host Larry Kudlow said McCain's decision was wise.

Bartiromo, who was set to feature Palin in an upcoming CNBC special on energy, called the governor a "terrific choice."

BARTIROMO: "I can tell you a lot about Gov. Palin just from my conversation with her and from the day that we spent with her and that is she challenged the establishment in Alaska. She is very, very popular in Alaska and what she brings to the table predominantly is her knowledge and her know-how of energy. That's the bottom line."