In an interview with WFTV in Washington, DC today, President Obama spoke about rising gas prices -- and the politically disastrous effect they've had for him. In his usual "it's-not-my-fault!" style, he says he understands that the American people will blame him, but eschews the idea that there's an easy solution to the problem.
Obama referred to the phrase, "there's no magic bullet." The president said any politician who says there is one is not being truthful.
Still, an ABC poll released on Monday shows Obama is taking the blame.
The poll shows two-thirds of Americans disapprove of his handling of gas prices, which is a record high for the president, and only eight months before the election.
"Well look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I'm not doing enough, and I understand that," Obama said.
The president said his fight for a payroll tax cut last year will help Americans afford higher gas prices.
"Ultimately, though there's no silver bullet. The way we're going to solve this problem is what we talk about today in our energy report," Obama said.
The president said America has had the highest domestic oil production in more than a decade.
The nation now exports more crude than it imports, reducing dependence on foreign oil, along with new fuel efficiency standards for cars and investments in alternative fuels.
"The bigger driver of these gas prices is speculation of war in the Middle East, which is why we've been trying to reduce loose talk about a war there," Obama said.
So now, to deconstruct his answer. Let's start with the claim that his energy plan has done/will do good things for gas prices. This afternoon, my colleague Erika Johnsen wrote an excellent breakdown of the current gas prices situation, and the president's energy plan. When, in this interview, he takes credit for domestic oil production? Not so much:
The increased domestic oil production we're currently enjoying is due to the initiative of private businesses and the policies of "the previous administration" -- seems like increased oil production is one of the few things Obama isn't willing to pin on the Bush administration, even if that's where the credit is actually due.
I highly recommend the rest of Erika's piece -- our resident energy policy afficionado nails it. As for his energy plan, thus far the only part he's really discussed has been fuel efficiency, urging all of us to go buy a $43,000 car that isn't even available yet. Progress!
Besides assuming credit for something he had nothing to do with, however, the president also claims that there's no easy solution to gas price woes. Hey, I'll give him that. After all, critics tried to blame George W. Bush for the rising gas prices of 2007 (ah, $3.00 gas, we hardly knew ye), and that wasn't fair.
Back in the day, however, Barack Obama was one of those critics, and his 2008 presidential campaign put out a number of ads directly addressing what he would do to lower gas prices, and claiming that John McCain and W. were responsible for the costs. Now, he's facing $5 gas in the city where he currently resides (yes, this weekend I spotted $5.09 for a gallon of regular at the Exxon station on Whitehurst Freeway in DC). Seems to me like it's a good time to revisit 2008 Barack Obama: Champion of Cheap Gas. Roll tape!
One ad telling you to vote Obama because you make two gallons of gas an hour -- and with minimum wage at $7.25, you can now say it's 1.5 gallons of gas an hour -- and two hitting W. for the high cost of gas.
You think the president has an "emoticon" of compassion (thank you Meghan McCain) for the last president by now?
Nah. He's too busy "playing politics while [we] pay at the pump."