Skip to comments.White House looks to change the optics in debate over rising gas prices
Posted on 03/17/2012 3:21:59 PM PDT by Libloather
White House looks to change the optics in debate over rising gas prices
By Amie Parnes - 03/16/12 06:39 PM ET
The White House is shifting its optics on gas prices after struggling in recent days to win the public debate over the issue.
President Obama will head to Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio next week to tout American-made energyincluding an area which houses more than seventy active drilling rigs.
The tripwhich includes three battleground statesprovides for much-needed photo-op moments of Obama visiting or possibly even speaking in front of active wells, which the White House hopes will hammer home its argument that domestic production has increased under his administration.
It is also a tacit admission that the current messaging campaign to deflect blame for rising gas prices, largely done through presidential addresses at college campuses and manufacturing facilities in recent weeks, has been largely unsuccessful.
The optics on the energy issue have become an increasing problem for Obama. A Washington Post poll released Monday found only 26 percent of voters approve of Obamas handling of rising gas prices.
At the same time, observersincluding Democratic strategists and others close to the White Househave found fault with the administrations efforts.
What theyve been doing up until now hasnt been very effective, said one former administration official.
While observers agree that there is no silver bullet on the issue, they say the administration needs to take more of a show-not-tell approach to clearly telegraph their message on energy.
They probably need to be a little clearer in showing that [Obama] does support domestic production, said David Meadvin, a Democratic strategist.
One of the ways they can get out of this bind is to put the president before an oil rig in shirt sleeves and say, here, added Susan MacManus, a professor of political science at the University of South Florida. They need to go to two or three places and say, This is where its happening because people dont believe it is.
Even as Obama provides a more tangible moment for the viewing public, senior administration officials say theres no change in course.
One senior administration official said this week the White House has no plans to shift the presidents messaging on the issue. In the coming days and weeks, the official said, Obama will continue a constant drumbeat where he touts his strategyincluding his push for green energy while responding to false attacks on issues about his record on domestic energy production.
The administration official said Obama will seek to ensure that people understand his record and that they understand there are no silver bullets and easy fixes for the problem.
At the same time, senior officials said, Obama will answer the so-called cynics and naysayers who have urged Obama to drill by highlighting his administrations increase in domestic production.
During a speech on Thursday, a fiery presidentwho played off the crowd of college studentsaimed to do just that in his sharpest rhetoric on the issue to date.
Do not tell me that were not drilling, Obama said at a speech at Prince Georges Community College in Maryland. Were drilling all over this country. There are a few spots were not drilling. Were not drilling in the national mall. Were not drilling at your house.
The president also accused Republicans of viewing the energy issue through a narrow scope.
If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society, Obama said. They would not believe that the world was round.
But observers say Obama needs to step up the rhetoric even more so against his rivals.
When some of these ridiculous comments are being lobbed, they should hit back harder than what theyve been doing to make it clear that these people are being absurd, the former Obama administration official said. They should hit back with facts.
Beyond their optics problem, the White House has also been tripped up by their handling of the Keystone XL pipelinesomething Obama will aim to fix when he visits Oklahoma next week to talk about it.
The rejection of the pipeline by the White House has given the GOP perhaps one of the more definitive talking points during the next election cycle.
The White House still needs to justify why they turned down the pipeline, MacManus said. They still havent really done that. Its the one issue that received a lot of attention and it contributed to this perception that the administration isnt doing anything to help bring down gas prices.
Tony Fratto, who served as deputy press secretary to former President George W. Bush, said the Obama administration has failed to get in front of the pipeline issue.
The White House let themselves lose on that issue and thats staggering, Fratto said. Its going to get built, theres no stopping it. And if they had supported it, theyd have something positive to talk about.
While Fratto agrees that there are no silver bullets, he said Americans are basing their beliefs on Obamas record and what their expectations are for the future.
But Democratic strategist Phil Singer disagrees with that assessment. Obama, Singer said, has done all he can to address the issue.
When gas prices go up a president is unfairly blamed and when gas prices go down, a president is unfairly credited, Singer said. The truth of the matter is, a president has very little control on the price of gas. It really has less to do with what Barack Obama is doing or saying and everything to do with the fact that he has president before his name.
“Shut up and drill”.
Don’t worry bro. I have something in preparation. Look for it to emerge first on this forum, then hopefully be circulated web-wide.
I heard him repeating the tired old canard about “2% of the oil, 20% of the consumption” on his Saturday lecture.
"Tomorrow is Sunday, Newt...put this issue front and center! Come out swinging (BTW, no good fight movie ends until the hero has been beaten to a pulp and somehow recovers to deliver the knock-out punch)."
"Come on Newt, you have gotten under their skin...now is your time.":
"Deliver the punch!"
If I had a nickel for every woman that told me that.....
I actually think it would be a great slogan.
Even Obama yute would like it. It’s sort of like “shut up and drive”.
I welcome anyone to use it, no charge, no royalties expected.
Catchy and effective.
Let’s hope that no self respecting drilling contractor will even let him on site for a photo op.
and somebody, maybe even the RNC, needs to take advantage of such a photo-op to make a commercial and include some old footage of all the people in little white lab coats with various healthcare bill photo-ops. Stick ‘em in their eye with it right in their face. Ridicule and make them the butts of every ad.
I am not aware of having heard or seen that phrase “Shut up and drill” elsewhere. To the best of my knowledge it is original.
However I haven’t done any sort of search, and it could be someone’s already laid claim to it. In which case of course, it is not mine to give away.
But if it’s not claimed already, I’m fine with it!
PS: the reference to “shut up and drive” is to the title of a very catchy pop song, which I also don’t claim any rights to. :D
I’d drill it.
Don't worry Baraq, you odious traitor filth, we're very familiar with it.
“The Optics” is what they care about????
Fix the damn problem you communist marxist Kenyan muslim neo-jihadi thug!
Wednesday: Obama criticizes opponents for “heading down to the pump” for photo ops
Monday: Obama heads down to the oil rigs for photo op
This guy is a joke.