President Obama has a lot to answer for when he faces the White House press corps today, starting with skyrocketing gas prices. Actually, it was at a press conference nearly a year ago that the president said his administration was doing “everything we can” to address the pain at the pump. Things have only gotten worse since, and now the president finds himself firmly on the defensive in the face of a coordinated Republican offensive:
“Republicans have seized on rising gas prices as a political weapon against President Obama. … The GOP messaging plan has been to paint Obama on the wrong side of energy independence. From speeches to Capitol stakeouts to op-eds, top Republicans have been hammering this notion on a daily basis over the last few weeks, blaming the president for rising gas prices and citing his rejection of the Keystone pipeline and various other House GOP deregulation bills as evidence that he opposes domestic energy production. … [President Obama] has adopted the ‘all of the above’ energy rhetoric that Republicans have used for years.” (Talking Points Memo, 3/5/12)It’s no surprise that of its five questions for President Obama, POLITICO’s first is “What are you doing about the price of gas?” Here are five more on the topic:
- Last spring, you described the nation’s energy policy as a “hodgepodge.” Do you accept any responsibility for gas prices more than doubling on your watch? Could you have done anything differently, whether it’s your rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline or pledging support for offshore energy production in Brazil while blocking it here in the United States?
- After your meeting last week, Republican leaders saw new hope of common ground on energy. The House has passed several bipartisan bills that act on the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy you say you now support. Can you assure the American people that the Senate will begin acting on some of the bipartisan, House-passed energy bills?
- There have already been indications that your rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline will contribute to higher gas prices. Last week, President Clinton said “we should embrace” the project. Do you regret your decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and will you reconsider it? Do you agree with your spokesman that pleas to approve the pipeline are “insulting”?
- Last week, your Energy Secretary told members of Congress that lowering gas prices is not your administration’s goal – the same secretary who has overseen the Solyndra debacle. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that lowering gas prices is not your administration’s goal?
- Dozens of Congressional Democrats have called on you to again tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to address high gas prices. Speaker Boehner indicated that in your meeting last week you were not inclined to do so. Will you tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and if not, what makes this year different from last year?
This week, the House will pass another ‘all-of-the-above’ energy jobs bill, while committees continue to examine the Obama Administration policies that have led to higher prices and fewer jobs. Learn more by visiting the American Energy Initiative on Facebook or going to jobs.GOP.gov.