North Texas Daily

Obama talks gas price problem

Obama talks gas price problem

February 24
01:13 2012

(MCT) MIAMI – President Barack Obama stopped Thursday in Miami to refuel his re-election campaign with $4 million in big-donor cash and to bash Republicans for politically “licking their chops” over the high price of fuel at the pump.

“Some politicians always see this as a political opportunity. You’re shocked, I know.”

Obama said to a large crowd of University of Miami students. “Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more, and they’re licking their chops?”

Obama asked rhetorically. “And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas.”

Obama’s likely reference was to third-place Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, who has promised $2.50-a-gallon-gas on a “drill-here, drill now” platform.

All the Republican candidates have criticized Obama for not encouraging enough domestic fuel production and for rejecting a proposal for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canada to Texas.

Obama never mentioned Keystone, but he did say that “my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.”
A Pew Research Center poll showed two-thirds of Americans support the pipeline.

But the poll also showed more than half of voters support Obama’s auto bailout, which Republicans opposed and about which Obama boasted later at a fundraiser at the swank Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. Obama’s stimulus program is still slightly less than popular, but voters are starting to like it more.

At the Biltmore Hotel fundraiser, Obama took credit for the growth in jobs, but received his loudest applause for giving the go-ahead to kill Osama bin Laden.

Obama didn’t tout his accomplishments during the UM speech, where he got the loudest applause for holding his hands in the school’s trademark “U” symbol. During the speech, the president stayed almost exclusively on the topic of oil.

The president also boasted that “under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.”

Unmentioned by Obama: Nearly all of that drilling was approved under his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

Obama said, in the old days, he would stay and watch the Miami Heat-New York Knicks basketball matchup, but he had other things to do. Specifically, he has to raise money.

Obama hit up three high-dollar fundraisers: the one at the Biltmore Hotel, where tickets started at $500 and were doubled to $1,000; another at the Pinecrest, Fla., home of a top Democratic fundraiser, where pictures with the president cost as much as $15,000; and a third at the Orlando, Fla., home of basketball star Vince Carter, where dinner plates cost up to $30,000 each.

The Miami area events fetched nearly $2 million, and the Orlando dinner brought in slightly more than that.

Since Obama also spoke publicly, the lion’s share of the Florida trip – which will cost more than $1 million – will be paid for by taxpayers.

Obama’s visit, the second this year, comes as the economy is showing signs of improvement along with his poll numbers. Still, most Florida polls show his approval rating under 50 percent in a state that’s still plagued by high unemployment and home-foreclosure rates.

The Republican National Committee noted that, since last year, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Miami has risen 82 percent, to about $4 per gallon.

“President Obama promised to be a leader on energy policy when he was campaigning in 2008, but gas prices have skyrocketed since he’s been in office with most Floridians paying well above the national average,” Sharon Day, a Broward Republican and Republican National Committee co-chair, said in a written statement.

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