CORAL GABLES, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Gas prices across the Sunshine State, and the nation, have been spiking in recent weeks. That has brought political attention to the issue and brought President Barack Obama to the University of Miami Thursday.
President Obama is trying to stem the tide of Republican attacks that have included Rick Santorum accusing the Obama administration of intentionally keeping gas prices high to cut down on emissions and Newt Gingrich promising that he could bring prices back down to $2.50.
“Last week, the lead of one news story said, ‘Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops,’” Obama told the crowd. “Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more, and they’re licking their chops? And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling.”
Obama said it’s the same plan that’s been pitched by politicians for the last 30 years and that it’s the safe position to get a politician through an election.
Instead, Obama said that America needs an “all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more.”
Obama said that America is also making available 75 percent of America’s oil and gas resources, but he said that amount drilled at home won’t do anything to set the price of gas on its own.
Obama also highlighted his support for nuclear power, natural gas, and high-tech batteries which he said will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
But Obama saved his biggest barrage for the oil industry. Obama highlighted the fact that oil companies currently receive $4 billion in subsidies from taxpayers.
“It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable,” Obama said. “And every politician who’s been fighting to keep these subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money. Especially at a time like this.”
In a passage that’s certain to attract the attention of Republican opponents, President Obama said of clean energy, “Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies will fail.” Republicans will seize on that and try to attach the failed clean energy company Solyndra to Obama’s administration.
But Obama also reiterated his approach to this year which is either he will have Congress’ support or he will do it without them.
“I’ll continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy, so that our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world,” Obama said. It’s the easiest thing in the world make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices. What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade. But that’s the kind of commitment we need right now. That’s what this moment requires.”