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.
He needs to have his picture taken standing in front of this: http://www.kltv.com/story/16601787/100-miles-of-pipeline-stored-in-e-texas-field
You found the silver bullet!
Some Freeper said, just a few days ago, to look for BO, in shirtsleeves and a hardhat, in front of a drill rig. I forgot who it was but he/she was right.
Classic liberal dishonesty. The problem isn't that domestic production hasn't increased -- it's that it hasn't increased enough.
And it hasn't increased enough because this administration has willfully and knowingly hampered new drilling and exploration, for ideological reasons and because of its beholdenness to the environmental left.
Obama and his pals are banking on the public not being well enough informed to see this. It is incredibly cynical.
That's a good point. Just the other day Obama gave a speech where he warned people not to listen to "politicians who have a three point plan for two dollar gas". I wonder who he was talking about?
Maybe the photographer can direct him to stand in the line of fire from the throw chain.
If I had a nickle for everytime my ex-wife said that to someone besides me.
We have a problem that could cripple the economy and in turn the entire nation, and he’s worried about the optics.
That’s all you need to know.
FYI Newt is the only person telling the truth with regards to Oil and Gas. When I was a kid 40 years ago I worked on a Rig in Colorado,Utah,New Mexico,Montana,.. then some moron peanut farmer got elected and decided that 30% of our OIL being imported was wrong, so he created the Department of Energy to “ween ourselves of imported oil” almost immediately we were REQUIRED to SHUT DOWN HALF OF OUR WELLS and REDUCE BY 50% the PRODUCTION OF EXISTING WELLS. Low and behold we had a major Gas shortage, massive price increases, long lines, odd even days to get gas, limits of 10 gallons and on and on... At the time We KNEW THEN how much recoverable oil there was in the US. My Driller and Company Man drilled it into our heads what was happening and that at the time it was KNOWN that CALIFORNIA had More OIL than ALL OF SAUDI ARABIA,(finally being reported) and the US had 10 times more OIL than the rest of the world.(finally being reported) All of this so-called News is 40 years old. Today we import 70% of our oil. A good friend still works in the patch on Gas Wells in Texas and Louisiana, Almost everyone in his company has been transferred to North Dakota because THERE IS NO MORE NEW WELLS BEING DRILLED and THERE WON’T BE ANYMORE EITHER in Texas or Louisiana. Most of the crews have gone to Other STates where the Wells are on PRIVATE PROPERTY. All of this is by design AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. Wake up Americans this is their JIHAD on us, and the accomplices are our very own CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT.
....and if I ever disrespect you, IT MUST BE IN PERSON.....lol
Not only that, but he thinks he can escape responsibility for the problem by "changing the optics." And he may be right, too.
I refuse to read crap written by a doofus from another universe trying to change my language again.
"Changing the optics????"
Hussein and his handlers are masters at parsing words so that they can never be accused of perjury...
He said, 2% of "The known world oil reserves."
Prohibit drilling where the oil is known to be, and that 2% can never go up. In fact, as oil is discovered elsewhere, the number can only go down!
Pretty cool, huh?
Parse, parse, parse. It’s what you have to do. A lot of us got pretty good at that during the Clinton years.