Four gambits Obama could try to boost election prospects

President Obama got big headlines – and a political bounce – from his new policy protecting some young illegal immigrants from deportation and offering them temporary work permits. By a 2-to-1 margin, likely American voters support the move, according to a Bloomberg poll. So what other potential gambits does Mr. Obama have in his hip pocket, especially if he needs another jolt before Election Day? Here are four.

1. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline

Nati Harnik/AP/File
A truck travels along Highway 14, several miles north of Neligh, Neb., near the proposed new route for the Keystone XL pipeline in this April 19 file photo. The Canadian company trying to build the disputed Keystone XL pipeline submitted a new application for the project after changing the route to avoid environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska.

In January, President Obama rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which was to run from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Texas coast. Environmentalists cheered, but labor, another key Obama constituency, was disappointed, given the thousands of jobs at stake. Republicans blasted Mr. Obama not only over the jobs but also because of the energy that could eventually come onstream for American consumers at a time of high gas prices. 

Obama said he rejected the pipeline because a congressional deadline "prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact.” The proposed route would have gone through environmentally sensitive parts of Nebraska. On June 15, the State Department announced an environmental review of the new proposed route, with a goal of reaching a decision by next year.

But perhaps Obama could expedite the decision, if he wants to grab headlines by approving the new Keystone route in time for the Nov. 6 election. Approval of Keystone would take away a GOP talking point on energy and jobs. It would also please the labor movement. Environmentalists would be angry, but Obama may be willing to take that gamble.

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