Obama: Time to end tax breaks for Big Oil

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Mr. Obama accused Republicans of “licking their chops” in an election year to exploit high gas prices for political gain.

“Only in politics do people respond to bad news with such enthusiasm,” Mr. Obama said. “And you can bet we’ll be hearing more about those magic, three-point plans for $2 gas. You know the plans I’m talking about:  Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. Well, if there’s one thing I know about New Hampshire, it’s that your political bull detector is pretty keen. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”

He said “it’s the easiest thing in the world make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.” But Mr. Obama said the solution involves  a diversified strategy that develops oil, gas, solar, wind energy and biofuels.

Mr. Boehner and other Republicans are criticizing the administration for not focusing on efforts to lower gas prices. Mr. Boehner pointed to the congressional testimony earlier this week of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, saying Mr. Chu “made it pretty clear that his goal is to have higher energy prices.”

At a House hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Chu was asked if it was the administration’s “overall goal” to lower gas prices.

“No,” Mr. Chu said. “The overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy.”

Presidential press secretary Jay Carney essentially agreed with that assessment.

“The president is not focused on a policy, and is not making promises to the American people, that, if I do this, you will be paying a certain price at the pump, because he is not insulting the American people’s intelligence,” Mr. Carney said Wednesday. “He is simply saying that his commitment is to pursue a policy that enhances American energy security and enhances American energy independence.”

But on Thursday, Mr. Chu told another congressional panel, “We very much want to not only slow the price, but reverse” the rising cost of gasoline.

“We definitely feel the pain that every American and every business feels when the price of gas goes up,” he said.

In New Hampshire, Mr. Obama said there are no quick fixes to the spike in gas prices.

“We may not have a silver bullet to bring down gas prices tomorrow, or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight,” he said. “But what we do have in this country are limitless sources of energy, and a boundless supply of ingenuity and imagination that we can put to work developing that energy.”

The president was heading later in the day to New York City, where he will attend a series of campaign fundraisers expected to reap at least $4 million.

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