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Obama: No 'silver bullet' for gas price pain. GOP says drill more.

Staking his ground, and perhaps his reelection, on a 'green' ideology, President Obama said in his weekly Saturday address that high gas prices confirm the need for an “all-of-the-above” energy policy. Republicans push more domestic oil production.

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Republicans blame the administration's policies for halving the number of drilling permits, nixing the Keystone XL pipeline that would have brought Canadian shale oil to US refineries in Texas, and promoting government investment in risky and unproven alternatives.

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Republican presidential candidates have been quick to bring up the recent bankruptcy of the administration-backed solar energy firm Solyndra and have mocked vows by the President to use algae and chicken manure to help the country become more energy-independent.

“President Obama's own Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has said, and I quote: ‘Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,’” Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas said in the Republican Saturday address. “Well, this Administration is certainly trying their best to do just that.”

The President acknowledged Saturday that high gas prices are an unwelcome hurdle for struggling American workers and business owners, noting that “high gas prices are like a tax straight out of their paychecks.” But he also added that “Americans aren't stupid” and will see through quick-fix Republican ideas aimed not at long-term energy policy, but short-term campaign points.

“You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices,” the President said. “If we're going to take control of our energy future and avoid these gas price spikes down the line, then we need a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more. We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks; in our buildings and plants. That's the strategy we're pursuing, and that's the only real solution to this challenge.”

Nevertheless, consumer confidence and Obama's reviving approval ratings are at stake should gas prices continue to hover at the $4 mark, Chris Christopher, an analyst at the economic forecast firm IHS Global Insight, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The one thing that's a real downer to Americans is gasoline prices,” he said.

The Monitor's Weekly News Quiz for Feb. 18-25, 2012


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