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Obama faces dilemma over gas prices as presidential campaign hits homestretch
The Hill ^ | 10/14/12 | Ben Geman

Posted on 10/14/2012 4:12:50 PM PDT by markomalley

President Obama faces a dilemma as Mitt Romney bashes him over high gasoline prices in the final weeks of their close race.

Obama must decide whether to address the attacks head-on, or stay the course on a messaging strategy that has recently been addressing prices indirectly.

Democratic strategists and other experts argue that three weeks before voters go to the polls, Obama should steer clear of big messaging or policy pivots on gas prices.

“Bringing the issue up this close to Election Day would be self-defeating at this point,” said Paul Bledsoe, an independent consultant who was a climate change aide in the Clinton White House.

Dramatic action on energy appears unlikely before the election even as the campaigns tweak their closing arguments.

White House officials have said in recent months that a release from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is an option on the table. But speculation about the prospect has dimmed in recent weeks as oil prices have fallen off their summer highs that reached around $100-per-barrel in mid-September.

Prices closed Friday at $91.86-per-barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Democratic political strategist Michael Stratton said that tapping the SPR would damage Obama.

“Anything with gas prices that would be perceived as manipulative at this point would work against him, and would be perceived by everybody so cynically that it would be ineffective,” he said.

Average nationwide gasoline prices are currently $3.79-per-gallon and have for weeks been setting records for the highest prices on specific days of the year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Prices, though, have been dropping in recent days.

Also, the current national average has been skewed upward by the major recent price spike in California, which saw average Golden State prices jump a half-dollar in a week to reach $4.67 on Oct. 9 before falling back, according to AAA.

Average nationwide prices are well below the all-time record of $4.11-per-gallon reached in the summer of 2008, when battles over drilling played a starring role in the election. That summer Obama, then a candidate, signaled what appeared to be new openness to offshore drilling if coupled with a wider energy strategy.

The president, when discussing energy policy this year, has mentioned pump prices to varying degrees. Obama, in energy policy speeches last spring when prices were surging and neared an average of $4-per-gallon, addressed high prices head-on and noted their toll on families’ wallets.

Obama and aides stressed at the time that there are no quick-fixes or silver bullets to address high prices, while touting his broad strategy centered on green energy, domestic oil-and-gas production, and boosting auto efficiency.

More recently, he has continued emphasizing U.S. oil production increases, falling import reliance, toughened auto efficiency, and green energy. But Obama has dropped the overt discussion of current pump prices and the lack of quick fixes.

Bledsoe said there’s no reason to change course in the final weeks of the campaign. “The president is probably best served by emphasizing the good news message on energy supply, which he is increasingly building into his stump speech,” said Bledsoe, who also worked for Clinton’s Interior Department.

Romney is seeking to put Obama on the defensive over prices that have doubled since he became president, even though experts caution that policymakers have little impact on the costs, which are tethered to oil prices on world markets.

Average prices were $1.89-per-gallon when Obama took office in January of 2009, but that price reflects the drop in energy demand during the global economic downturn.

In the first Obama-Romney debate Oct. 3, the GOP nominee noted that prices have doubled on Obama’s watch when listing burdens facing the middle class that he lays at Obama’s feet, comments that also appear in his stump speeches.

Obama didn’t parry the price attack directly, but touted his overall energy approach. Later in the debate Obama referenced prices when bashing tax breaks for oil companies, noting “does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money when they're making money every time you go to the pump?”

Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist, said emphasizing oil industry tax breaks is smart politics against Romney. “The tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies gives you an offensive tool that targets where Romney is vulnerable,” he said.

Another Democratic strategist similarly said that unless there’s a major disruption in energy markets that send prices spiking, Obama should “stay the course” on energy messaging ahead of the election.

Obama’s current messaging strategy will be tested in coming weeks.

“Gov. Romney will continue to discuss how President Obama’s failed energy policies have made life more difficult for middle-class families with skyrocketing gas prices, increasing costs, and by destroying jobs,” said Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Romney. “Americans can’t afford four more years like the last four, and deserve better than what they’ve received from President Obama.”

Romney and other Republicans have bashed Obama for what they call undue restrictions on U.S. energy development in federally controlled lands and offshore, noting for instance that Obama’s offshore oil-and-gas leasing plans keep the east and west coasts off-limits.

A spokesman for Obama's campaign, asked how the campaign will address gasoline prices in its closing arguments before November’s election, responded by touting Obama’s overall energy message.

“When it comes to energy, after 30 years of inaction, President Obama has doubled fuel efficiency standards so our cars and trucks will go farther on a gallon of gas, helped double our production of job-creating clean wind and solar energies, and championed an all-of-the-above American energy strategy,” spokesman Adam Fetcher said, noting oil production is at a 14-year high and natural gas production is at record highs.

Overall, energy policy has been tough going for Obama during his White House tenure.

For instance, he announced an expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing that included areas off the East Coast in late March of 2010. But three weeks later, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, touching off the massive BP oil spill. The expanded leasing proposal was eventually scaled back, dropping the plan to make the new coastal areas available that had been off-limits.

Other struggles have included the failure of the federally backed solar company Solyndra, and the decision over the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a project that environmentalists bitterly oppose but a substantial number of unions want.

The White House has delayed a decision on a cross-border permit for the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline until 2013, drawing what have become ongoing attacks from GOP pipeline advocates who call it a missed chance to create jobs.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; 2012issues; bho2012; bhoenergy; bholiar; gasprices; greenfraud; obama; thegreenlie
I would have thought Obama would be happy with gas prices. After all, didn't he say that energy prices would necessarily skyrocket under his plan?
1 posted on 10/14/2012 4:12:55 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

The only dilemma Obama faces is the Constitutional mandate for a vote. Socialism doesn’t work for anyone except the ruling elite, so elections really put a crimp in things.


2 posted on 10/14/2012 4:16:45 PM PDT by PapaNew
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To: markomalley
“The tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies gives you an offensive tool that targets where Romney is vulnerable,” he said.

LOL! Right. Make the price of gas double in no time flat by removing incentive for new exploration on the industry that prolly pays the most in taxes in the USA

3 posted on 10/14/2012 4:21:56 PM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: markomalley


I would have thought Obama would be happy with gas prices. After all, didn't he say that energy prices would necessarily skyrocket under his plan?



4 posted on 10/14/2012 4:22:48 PM PDT by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: markomalley

Haven’t heard much about the gas prices lately on “the news”. I guess they’ve got Barry’s back on that.


5 posted on 10/14/2012 4:23:59 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Dude! Where's my Obama "foam"?)
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To: markomalley

The Elephant in the room is the value of our dollar. Hope Mitt rides that one during the debate.


6 posted on 10/14/2012 4:26:02 PM PDT by UltraV (I use the term Leftist not liberal, because a true liberal would not support government censorship.)
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To: markomalley

Gov. Romney needs to be trained on how to easily interrupt and bully his opponent - you can be sure that’s what obozo is learning how to do ...


7 posted on 10/14/2012 4:27:28 PM PDT by Ken522
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Of course. It’s going to be weird come January. They will suddenly be talking about stuff they haven’t mentioned in four years. I wonder if the regular Joes and Janes notice the disconnect. Yeah, they do this every switchover, but it will definitely be way more stark after their Zero worship.


8 posted on 10/14/2012 4:28:18 PM PDT by UltraV (I use the term Leftist not liberal, because a true liberal would not support government censorship.)
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To: markomalley
Average prices were $1.89-per-gallon when Obama took office in January of 2009, but that price reflects the drop in energy demand during the global economic downturn.

And now things are just roaring along, aren't they? /s

9 posted on 10/14/2012 4:30:46 PM PDT by THX 1138 ("Harry, I have a gift.")
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To: markomalley

Americans need to start realizing the consequences of the anti business and anti free market policies that they support.


10 posted on 10/14/2012 4:31:09 PM PDT by all the best (`~!)
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To: markomalley

What a dilemma ... he likes high gas prices, but the voters don’t. I feel so sad about his dilemma ... maybe he’ll get so stressed out that he’ll decide to move to Kenya and live in a shed, like his brother. Aaaah, the simple life!


11 posted on 10/14/2012 4:31:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick (I am relentlessly reasonable. Mrs. Don-o said so.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer
Haven’t heard much about the gas prices lately on “the news”. I guess they’ve got Barry’s back on that.

Or the 2000 military deaths under his command.

If I'm not mistaken, that makes his Deaths per Month higher than Bush

12 posted on 10/14/2012 4:31:52 PM PDT by digger48
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To: FlingWingFlyer
Haven’t heard much about the gas prices lately on “the news”. I guess they’ve got Barry’s back on that.

Me neither. Perhaps it's because, as the article says, ave national gas prices are "well below" the record high of $4.11 per gal to #3.79.

I guess the new normal for theave national price is $3.79 now.

Gas prices should be a MAJOR issue!!!

The whole economic downfall happened when oil/gas prices peaked somewhere areound 2007. Landlords abandoned their apartment buildings and tenents because they could not afford to heat the buildings. Likewise, homeowners were leaving their houses behind. People were taking out loans from the bank just to heat their homes for a month.

Despite Obama's rhetoric, the price of heating oil and gasoline is what set off this whole recession back in 2007/2008.

13 posted on 10/14/2012 4:35:25 PM PDT by tsowellfan
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To: markomalley

In the next presidential debate, Romney would do well to bring up the fact due to Obama’s domestic oil policiy the high price of gas is causing all food and retail prices to soar for the Amereican people.


14 posted on 10/14/2012 4:37:06 PM PDT by Paperdoll
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To: markomalley
Maybe Obama should instead be apologizing that he wasn't able to raise coal prices even higher.

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

Obama Warned that His Policies Would Bankrupt Coal Power Plant Owners

15 posted on 10/14/2012 4:38:36 PM PDT by JediJones (ROMNEY/RYAN: TURNAROUND ARTISTS ***** OBAMA/BIDEN: BULL $HIT ARTISTS)
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To: markomalley

Isn’t it too late for Zer0 to take a bong hit from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?


16 posted on 10/14/2012 4:50:46 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: markomalley

You have a regime which by design is driving up the costs and uses of energy in all its forms the nations most a basic resource. By tinkering with our resources and restricting their flow through bureacratic over regulation or restriction even on the basic sources in electrical energy creation demanding other alternative uses other than ,coal, oil and natural gas by this regime .

It has not only by design, which the president has addmitted to,artifically driven up the costs doubling or trippling prices to all goods and services during his tenure in office.

What’s even worse is the massive corrpution resulting from that regime doling out tons of funds towards its campaign donners for so called alternate forms which don’t work or are laughingly inefficient.

The Romney campaign would be remiss if it gives this socialist attempt to control a basic need a pass and a huge mistake because this policy affects everyone. It is a bread a butter issue.


17 posted on 10/14/2012 5:10:03 PM PDT by mosesdapoet (The best way to punish a - country is let professors run it. Fredrick the Great para/p)
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To: markomalley
Any increase in the oil supply is because of drilling/fracking on private lands that Obama doesn't control. On federal land, drilling is down, down, down....just like Obama wants it.
18 posted on 10/14/2012 5:14:44 PM PDT by JPG (Make it happen)
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To: Ken522
Gov. Romney needs to be trained on how to easily interrupt and bully his opponent - you can be sure that’s what obozo is learning how to do ...

Wrong. Mitt needs to know how to respond to the buttinski tactics. Something along the lines of: Mr. President, you were given time to express you views, now its my time to express mine - especially since you and your campaign have spent the last few months lying about my proposed policies and views. I believe the American peoiple deserve to here the truth. I understand you don't want the American people to here about my policies, plans and views from me because it doesn't comport with the lies you and your supporters have been spreading.

19 posted on 10/14/2012 5:29:21 PM PDT by Go Gordon (It's barack hussein obama - because he doesn't believe in capitalism.)
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To: Go Gordon

here = hear


20 posted on 10/14/2012 5:32:49 PM PDT by Go Gordon (It's barack hussein obama - because he doesn't believe in capitalism.)
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To: Ken522
" Gov. Romney needs to be trained on how to easily interrupt and bully his opponent "

No, that would be a bad move because the main stream media would be all over Romney for doing that.
Romney should stay the course but also question Obama on his failures.
Romney must find a way for him self to remain claim , clear headed, in change, commanding, but at the same time get under his opponent's skin and cause Mr. thin skinned to lose his cool.
21 posted on 10/14/2012 5:36:02 PM PDT by American Constitutionalist
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To: all the best
" Americans need to start realizing the consequences of the anti business and anti free market policies that they support."

Americans are getting a text book living classroom educational living experience of just that at this moment.
22 posted on 10/14/2012 5:41:11 PM PDT by American Constitutionalist
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To: markomalley

23 posted on 10/14/2012 6:40:18 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

24 posted on 10/14/2012 6:43:44 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
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To: markomalley
It's not just gasoline prices as painful as they are, that count. Higher fuel prices are driving up all costs. The trucking industry will buy fewer tractors and trailers, and raise rates. Home heating oil production has to compete with diesel and gasoline production.

Groceries cost more to deliver, packages delivered by air cost more, every part of the economy feels the higher price of fuel seep into its pricing.

25 posted on 10/14/2012 6:46:58 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Wish someone would do a debt graph ( Obama added 6 trillion in government debt on us, more than the past 11 presidents combined, yet they blame Bush).

Also a jobs graph

also in addition to the gas and food prices graph .

all are much worse now than when Obama took office.

26 posted on 10/14/2012 7:05:03 PM PDT by Democrat_media (limit government to 5000 words of laws. how to limit gov Quantify limited government ...)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

That is brilliant.


27 posted on 10/14/2012 7:08:58 PM PDT by Dave W
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To: markomalley
SKYROCKET
28 posted on 10/14/2012 7:10:18 PM PDT by FrankR (They will become our ultimate masters the day we surrender the 2nd Amendment.)
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To: Dave W

I stole it myself.


29 posted on 10/14/2012 7:11:01 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
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To: American Constitutionalist

As long as the Republican Party has agreed to the choice of moderator there is nothing that can be done. The questions asked will be controlled by the media.

Gov. Romney should confront Obama about his heretical devotion to Cloward-Piven socialist theory and affiliation with known terrorist William Ayers. If I were running against Obama I wouldn’t be afraid to call him a Manchurian Candidate to his face, and also to call him out on all of the issues brought up in the film “2016”.

Alas, that will never happen. The Republicans continue to honor political correctness and to frame the election in terms of “the economy”, “jobs” etc etc. Since when is it the function of the federal government to create jobs? Much less the President? I thought we had a free enterprise system that did that!

Women want the federal government out of the decisions they make about their bodies, yet they seem to be okay with the feds completely propagandizing their children’s educations.

Where is the candidate who pledges to rout the feds, close down a hundred agencies, and return these functions to the respective states?

Where is the candidate who will do this?


30 posted on 10/14/2012 7:18:13 PM PDT by 4Runner
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To: markomalley

Obama’s in luck - the boys at the New York Times won’t hold him accountable for any thing. Also CNN while sifting throgh the questions for citizens will PASS OVER the questions dealing with gas prices - and choose instead one dealing with abortion.


31 posted on 10/14/2012 7:59:07 PM PDT by GOPJ (You only establish a feel for the line by having crossed it. - - Freeper One Name)
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To: markomalley
Obama's in luck - the boys at the New York Times won't hold him accountable for any thing. Also CNN while sifting throgh the questions 'from citizens in the audience - will PASS OVER questions dealing with gas prices - and choose instead ones dealing with abortion.

Not that liberal moderators are biased little dem suckups or anything...

32 posted on 10/14/2012 8:00:17 PM PDT by GOPJ (You only establish a feel for the line by having crossed it. - - Freeper One Name)
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To: UltraV
I know. Every time a Republican takes office in the White House, the media starts trumpeting a “homeless” epidemic.
33 posted on 10/15/2012 9:19:44 AM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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