- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

President Obama’s visit to suburban Maryland on Tuesday to announce new fuel-efficiency standards for trucks was anything but efficient, as the commander-in-chief took a 15-vehicle caravan on an hour-long round trip just to deliver a 17-minute speech at a local Safeway distribution center.

It was the latest example of what critics say has become a habit — the president’s words not exactly aligning with his actions. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama came under fire for golfing at some of California’s most water-intensive courses, despite having spent last Friday touring drought-ravaged areas of the state and declaring that the Western U.S. must “rethink” how it uses water resources and blaming global “climate change.”

Last week, the White House served a 2,500-calorie meal at a state dinner in honor of French President Francois Hollande even though first lady Michelle Obama and the Obama administration have focused intensely on serving nutritious food in schools. Even apart from the cost of such items as dry-aged rib-eye beef with blue cheese and American Osetra caviar, that dinner could not be served as a school lunch for calorie-count reasons.

“Obama is losing his connection to Americans that can’t afford to take long and flashy vacations. He is talking the talk on fuel efficiency, but certainly isn’t walking the walk. Instead he’s taking a gas-guzzling motorcade everywhere he goes,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, former chief of staff to then-Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, and also communications director to then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.

The Republican Party also has taken aim at the president’s recent actions. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told Time over the weekend the California golf outings — which began less than 24 hours after Mr. Obama attended a town hall meeting focused on the state’s worsening water crisis — are the latest example of a “brand of hypocrisy” frequently exhibited by this White House.

“This time it seems his soapbox doubles as a tee box,” she said, according to Time.

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The White House didn’t respond to The Washington Times’ request for comment regarding Tuesday’s event. Time also said the administration declined to comment about the president’s three rounds of golf while in California.

Aside from golf, fattening meals and fuel-eating trips on the Beltway, the administration also has faced hypocrisy charges on a more policy-oriented front.

Republican lawmakers and other critics have charged that this president, after repeatedly criticizing his predecessor for frequent use of executive actions, has followed the same path.

Indeed, Mr. Obama in recent weeks has boasted of how 2014 will be a “year of action” in which he’ll work without Congress wherever possible, and denied that he is abusing executive authority.

“There is no question that this president has been judicious in his use of executive action, executive orders,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week, correctly pointing out Mr. Obama has issued fewer executive orders than former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did at this point in their presidency.

Critics charge it’s the not the number of actions, but rather the type and scope, with Mr. Obama frequently using his authority to change mandates and deadlines under Obamacare and in other areas.

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Brushing off the criticism, Mr. Obama continued his wave of executive actions.

Speaking at the Safeway distribution center, Mr. Obama announced a new round of fuel-economy goals the trucking industry must meet by 2025.

Under current federal standards, medium and heavy-duty trucks must reduce their fuel consumption by 10 percent to 20 percent by 2018. The president’s new proposal, which is not scheduled to be finalized until March 2016 near the end of his term, will set even more ambitious goals the trucking industry must achieve in the years after 2018.

“Improving gas mileage for these trucks is going to drive down our oil imports even further,” Mr. Obama said. “That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers. So it’s not just a win-win. It’s a win-win-win.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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