- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann on Friday stood by her promise to bring gas prices down to around $2 a gallon if elected.

“The price of gasoline the day that Barack Obama took office was $1.79 a gallon. If the price of gasoline was $1.79 a gallon just two and three years ago, certainly we can get it back down to that level again. Why wouldn’t we be able to do that? We’re a ‘can-do’ America,” the Minnesota congresswoman said during an interview on the Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio program.

The $2 gas promise raised eyebrows around the country, but the tea party-backed candidate who won last weekend’s Ames Straw Poll wasn’t backing down.

“What Barack Obama has done is lock up America’s eneregy reserves. We’re the No. 1 energy-resource-rich nation in the world. We have more oil in three Western states in the form of shale oil than all the oil in Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t include the Bakken oil field in North Dakota or the eastern Gulf region or the Atlantic or the Pacific or Anwar or the Arctic region,” she said.

“We also have a brand-new natural gas find in Pennsylvania with over a trillion cubic feet of natural gas. We also have 25 percent of all the coal in the world. We just aren’t accessing or utilizing our energy. Energy could be one of the most stable, accessible forms of resources for business in the United States. …And we would create millions of high-paying jobs instantly,” she said.

Mrs. Bachmann, 55, blamed presidential policies, including stimulus programs supplemented by the Federal Reserve, for high gas prices and the shortfall in domestic supply.

“Part of the problem as well is under the president’s policies of quantitative easing, we’ve seen a reduction in the value of the dollar. Well, OPEC hasn’t missed that! That’s part of the reason why they’ve increased prices, because the American dollar is worth less today than it was the day that Barack Obama took office. These problems are imminently solvable. We just lack someone with the political will to solve them. I have that will and I have that backbone and that courage to do what we have to do to turn the economy around,” she said.

Asked if she were afraid to make such a bold campaign promise, the Minnesota congresswoman said “not at all.”

“We have the supply. That’s the good news. We have the resouces. The problem has been that we have not been willing to access those resources. So if we increase supply obviously we’ll be able to be a provider. We can be our own best customer and we can be a supplier to the world if we just choose to be,” she said.

Mrs. Bachmann took another jab at the president, who has just begun a 10-day vacation at Martha’s Vineyard.

“No one begrudges the president taking a vacation, I certainly don’t, but he’s failed to do his job throughout the year. He’s failed to present a plan yet to turn the economy around,” she said. “I think it’s a very bad move politically for him to do that.”

• David Eldridge can be reached at deldridge@washingtontimes.com.

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