If you're going to talk about energy in the United States, you might as well do it in North Dakota. The western part of the state had the good sense to be situated above a gigantic shale formation known as the Bakken, in which an enormous amount of natural gas and oil was trapped. Trapped, that is, until people figured out how to drill holes sideways through the shale and break it all up, sucking the oil and gas up to the surface. That's fracking, and it has made North Dakota one of the brightest spots in the American economy -- and the fastest-growing state in population year after year.

It is not a place where any politician, much less the Republican nominee for president, would disparage the use of fossil fuels. Donald Trump, who held a brief press conference there Thursday, would perhaps be less inclined than most to say bad things about the oil industry, especially since his friend Harold Hamm -- energy industry titan and one-time Mitt Romney presidential adviser -- was standing next to him.

So when asked about fracking, Trump took a lot of disparate threads of energy policy and politics in general and wove them together with his silver tongue.

Here is what he said, in its entirety.
Bernie is going to ban fracking.

Hillary is going to ban fracking. Hillary is going to abolish the Second Amendment. Okay? Just in case you have any questions. She's going to abolish your right to own guns; she's going to abolish the Second Amendment. And I'm exactly the opposite and I got the endorsement the other day from the NRA, which was a great endorsement and a great honor for me because they're great, amazing people. I'm a member of the NRA. My sons are members of the NRA.

But they want to absolutely knock out fracking. And you do that, you're going to be back into the Middle East and we're going to be begging for oil again. It's not going to happen. Not with me.

We're going to open it up. We're going to be energy independent. We're going to have all sorts of energy. We're going to have everything you can think of, including solar.

And I know a lot about solar. The problem with solar: It's very expensive. When you have a 30-year payback, that's not exactly the greatest thing in the world. But I know a lot about solar. I have gone solar on occasion, but it a very, very expensive thing.

Wind is very expensive. I mean, wind, without subsidy, wind doesn't work. You need massive subsidies for wind. There are places maybe for wind. But if you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles.

You know if you shoot an eagle, kill an eagle, they want to put you in jail for five years. Yet the windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. One of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds -- and they're killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens. So wind is, you know, it is a problem. Plus it's very, very expensive and doesn't work without subsidy.

Despite that, I'm into all types of energy.

By the way, while we are in North Dakota, I have to say this. I love the farmers. And the farmers are incredible. We have to remember this was largely a farm state. And they produce tremendous crops of tremendous different goods of which I eat a lot of them. And, and I just want to pay my respects to the farmers of North Dakota. Because they have done a great job.

Let's walk through that.

He starts off talking about the NRA, probably because he wanted to and it popped into his head. We can skip past that.


Trump's right that Sanders wants to ban fracking. As we explained before the New York primary -- a state that also overlaps with a shale formation but where the process is banned -- there's a subtle difference between the two Democrats' positions on it. Sanders wants a ban on the practice. Clinton doesn't, but she does