From NBC's John Yang
Energy Secretary Steven Chu may be a Nobel laureate Ph.D. in physics, but his first forays into energy policy suggest he's a neophyte when it comes to the ways of Washington.
At a forum with reporters on Thursday, the head of the department that has traditionally taken the lead on global oil-market policy, was asked what message the Obama administration had for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at its meeting next month.
"I'm not the administration," the Cabinet secretary replied. "I will be speaking and learning more about this in order to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president's position is."
Chu, who is still without a deputy, said he feels "like I've been dumped into the deep end of the pool" on oil policy.
The day before, reporters asked him about OPEC output levels after a speech to a group of utility regulators. He responded that the issue was "not in my domain."
Later, in a conference call to reporters, he said his answer reflected "more of my naiveté than anything else."