Obama’s Running On Empty

- February 23, 2012

Surge In Gas Prices Ultimate Condemnation Of Failed Energy Policy

Obama On Empty

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Obama Will Be Talking About Energy Policy In Miami On Thursday As The Average Price Of A Gallon Of Gas Hit $3.59 Nationally And $3.68 Per Gallon In Florida. “President Barack Obama will use a visit to Florida on Thursday to talk energy policy as gas prices continue to rise. Senior administration officials said Tuesday that Obama’s speech at the University of Miami isn’t necessarily to respond to the current gas price chatter, but the president will build off his State of the Union address, talking about eliminating oil and gas subsidies, instituting a clean energy standard and in general an “all of the above” approach to energy. The average price of a gallon of gasoline hit $3.59 on Tuesday, according to the Energy Information Administration. Floridians pay an average of $3.68 per gallon, 52 cents higher than a year ago, AAA reports.” (Dan Berman and Donovan Slack, “Obama To Promote Energy Plan Thursday,” Politico, 2/21/12)


In 2008, Obama Said He Would Have Preferred A Gradual Increase In Gas Prices. OBAMA: “Well, I think that we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn't had an energy policy. And as a consequence, we've been consuming energy as if it's infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are. So...” CNBC’s JOHN HARWOOD: “So could these high prices help us?” Obama: “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing.” (CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote,” 6/10/08)

  • Obama In 2008: “[O]bama Suggested That The Main Problem With High Gasoline Prices Is Their Rapid Rise, Not Their Total Of About $4 A Gallon.” (Charles Babington and Jim Kuhnhenn, “One Down, More To Go For Republicans Aiding McCain,” The Associated Press, 6/12/08)

Obama Thought That Americans Could “Adapt” To Higher Gas Prices. “But if the government gives middle-class families tax cuts and encourages the market ‘to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly U.S. automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.’” (Charles Babington and Jim Kuhnhenn, “One Down, More To Go For Republicans Aiding McCain,” The Associated Press, 6/12/08) 

In 2008, Energy Secretary Chu Said “Somehow We Have To Figure Out How To Boost The Price Of Gasoline To The Levels In Europe.” “In a sign of one major internal difference, Mr. Chu has called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work. ‘Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,’ Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.” (Neil King Jr. and Stephen Power, “Times Tough For Energy Overhaul,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/12/08)

Obama Needled A Questioner About Gas Prices, Suggesting The Individual Should Trade In His Car If He Was Only Getting 8 Miles Per Gallon.  “Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle. ‘If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,’ Obama said laughingly. ‘You might want to think about a trade-in.’” (Darlene Superville, “Obama: Expect Little Short-Term Relief On Gas Prices,” The Associated Press, 4/6/11)

  • NOTE: The Questioner Has Ten Kids In His Family, Requiring A Van. OBAMA: “If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon -- (laughter) -- you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big.  How many you have?  Ten kids, you say?  Ten kids?  (Laughter.)  Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then.  (Laughter.)” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Town Hall, Fairless Hills, PA, 4/6/11)

In 2008, Obama Claimed That Properly Inflating Your Tires Could Save As Much Oil As Produced From Offshore Drilling. OBAMA: “There are things that you can do individually though to save energy; making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Springfield, MO, 7/30/08)

  • NOTE: FactCheck.Org Determined That Obama “Greatly Exaggerated” His Claim That Properly Inflated Tires Could Save As Much Oil Produced From Offshore Drilling. “But we also figure that expanded offshore drilling is projected to produce far more oil eventually than can be saved by proper tire inflation – nearly three times as much even by the conservative estimate of government experts, and more than 10 times as much if an industry-endorsed estimate is correct. And even taking into account additional fuel savings from tune-ups, which Obama also mentioned, he greatly exaggerated.” (FactCheck.Org, “The Truth About Tire Pressure,”, 8/14/08)

Treasury Secretary Geithner Said The World Economy Can “Absorb” Higher Gas Prices. “Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner expressed confidence Wednesday that the world economy can successfully absorb any spike in oil prices brought on by political unrest in Libya and the greater Middle East.” (Dan Balz, “Geithner Confident World Can Deal With Oil Price Spike,” The Washington Post2/23/11)


Obama Has Admitted He Really Has No Serious Energy Policy

While In Miami In June 2011, Obama Said He’s Failed On Energy, Saying His Energy Policy Is Just A “Hodgepodge.” OBAMA: “Our energy policy still is just a hodgepodge, and for all the progress we’ve made, we’re not where we need to be in making sure that this is an energy-efficient economy that is running on all cylinders.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President At A DNC Event, Miami, FL, 6/13/11)

  • Obama: “We Haven’t Had An Energy Policy In This Country That Makes Sense And Frees Ourselves From Dependence On Foreign Oil.” (President Barack Obama, “Remarks By The President On The American Jobs Act,” Millers Creek, NC, 10/17/11)

Obama: “We Still Don’t Have All The Energy Policies In Place That We Need To Free Ourselves From Dependence On Foreign Oil And Adequately Deal With Climate Change.” “We still don’t have all the energy policies in place that we need to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and adequately deal with climate change, despite the fact that we’ve doubled fuel economy standards on cars and made enormous progress on clean energy -- and that means that I’m going to need another term to finish the job.” (President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks At Campaign Event #2, New York, NY, 11/30/11)

Obama Really Doesn’t Have A Coherent Energy Policy, Whose “Approach Has Been To Throw Out One Idea After Another Without Connecting The Dots Into An Overall Initiative.” “What is also important is what this debacle says once again about White House policy: Mainly that there really isn’t any. As in other initiatives, President Barack Obama has made lofty pronouncements about alternative energy without delineating any coherent coordinated plan for moving forward. His approach has been to throw out one idea after another without connecting the dots into an overall initiative.” (Dan K. Thomasson, “Solyndra’s Shadow Lasting,”The Boston Herald, 10/19/11) 

Obama’s Investments In Green Energy Technologies Have Failed

Obama: “Some Technologies Don’t Pan Out; Some Companies Fail.  But I Will Not Walk Away From The Promise Of Clean Energy.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks In The State Of The Union Address, 1/24/12) 

The Wall Street Journal: “The Obama Administration Has Managed The Nearly Impossible Feat Of Turning Energy Policy Into A Money Loser, Pouring Taxpayer Dollars Into Green-Energy Busts Like Solyndra.” (Editorial, “The Non-Green Job Boom,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/11)

The Washington Post: “You Can Call It Crony Capitalism Or Venture Socialism — But By Whatever Name, The Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program Privatizes Profits And Socializes Losses.” (Editorial, “The Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program Is The Real Solyndra Scandal,” The Washington Post,11/17/11)

12 Clean Energy Companies Are Having Trouble After Collectively Being Approved For More Than $6.5 Billion In Federal Assistance, While 5 Have Declared For Bankruptcy. “CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES' subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Tax Dollars Backing Some ‘Risky’ Energy Projects,” CBS News, 1/13/12)

  • Solyndra, Obama’s Poster-Child For “American Ingenuity And Dynamism,” Declared Bankruptcy. “The California-based Solyndra, which employed more than 1,000 people, declared bankruptcy earlier this month. President Obama visited the company in May of 2010, saying it was a prime example of ‘American ingenuity and dynamism.’” (Alexander Mooney, “White House Beats Back Claim It Pressured Loan To Now-Bankrupt Company.” CNN, 9/14/11)
  • “Solyndra Was The Epitome Of What The Government Envisioned To Be Our Green Tech Future…” (David Louie, “Fremont Solar Panel Maker Solyndra Scales Back Expansion Plans,” The Oakland Tribune, 11/4/10)
  • Solyndra Was Offered The First Recovery Act Loan Guarantee, Receiving $535 Million From Taxpayers In March 2009, And Went Bankrupt In August 2011. (Solyndra, “Solyndra Offered $535 Million Loan Guarantee By The U.S. Department Of Energy,” Press Release, 3/20/09; Joe Stephens And Carol Leonnig, “House Republicans Step Up Solyndra Investigation,” The Washington Post, 9/1/11; George Avalos, “Fremont Solar Tech Firm Solyndra To Shut Down, Lay Off 1,100 Workers,” The San Jose Mercury News, 8/31/11)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu Said It Was “Very Likely” That Other Companies Would Fail. “Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement Friday that it was ‘very likely’ other companies backed by the government would fail, given the inherent risk of backing new technologies, but ‘the vast majority of companies are expected to pay the loans back in full, on time, and with about $8 billion in interest.’” (Tennille Tracy, “Clean-Energy Aid Racks Up Losses,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/11/12)

Now Obama Is Trying To Take Credit For Policies That Aren’t His

Obama Oversells The Government’s Influence On The Energy Industry And Many Wells Coming In To Production Were Planned Before He Was President. “Obama is not only hoping that simple, rock-solid statistic will silence his GOP critics, he's angling to get some credit for the trend as he navigates a tricky re-election campaign. But he oversells the government's influence on the industry and ignores the fact that many wells coming into production were planned years ago, before he was president.” (Dina Cappielo, “FACT CHECK: Obama, GOP Spin Recent Energy Stats,” The Associated Press, 2/6/12)

“He Doesn’t Want To Admit It, But President Obama Is Taking Credit For Something George W. Bush Did. The White House Is Touting Federal Data That Shows Domestic Oil Production Is At Its Highest Level Since 2003.” (Amy Harder, “Obama’s Fuzzy Oil Production Math,” National Journal, 3/17/11) 

  • For 2009 And 2010, Oil Production Numbers Are Due To Actions Taken Before Obama Became President, Especially Since He Didn’t Take Any Major Action To Expand Offshore Drilling In His First Year. “While Bush was in office from 2001 to 2009, the oil and gas industry saw many new leases and other expanded drilling opportunities. In March 2010, Obama announced plans to expand offshore drilling, but he retreated in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. According to EIA’s short-term 2011 outlook, released last week, oil production was significantly higher in 2009 than in the years prior. Obama may have been in office for most of that year, but the oil production numbers are due to action taken before he became president. In 2010, most if not all of the production increase recorded is likely due to action that predates Obama, since Obama didn’t take any major action expanding offshore drilling his first year in office.” (Amy Harder, “Obama’s Fuzzy Oil Production Math,” National Journal, 3/17/11)

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) Said The Increase In Oil Production In The U.S. “Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With The Government.” FOX NEWS’ WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE: “Critics say the president is taking credit he doesn't deserve since new oil well takes five to 15 years to come online and most U.S. production gains have come off private not federal land.” REP. DAN BOREN (D-OK): “That's really why you're seeing an increase in production that doesn't have anything to do with government.” (Fox News’ "Special Report," 2/20/12)

It Is “Absolutely Not True” That Obama’s Policies Have Helped Wean The U.S. From Foreign Oil. “When asked, though, whether the Obama administration's policies have helped wean the U.S. from foreign oil, Gheit was equally emphatic. ‘Absolutely not true,’ Gheit said. ‘It was all market driven and all through American ingenuity….It was no thanks to Washington, not thanks to lobbyists, not thanks to anybody.’” (Josh Gerstein, “What Obama’s First Ad Doesn’t Say,” Politico’s "Under The Radar", 1/19/12) 

A “Variety Of Factors” Have Lead To A Decrease In Dependence On Foreign Oil, “Most Of Them Outside Obama’s Control.” “The ad also states, “For the first time in 13 years, our dependence on foreign oil is below 50 percent.” But again, it’s questionable how much credit Obama gets for that. The same Energy Information Administration report cited in the ad concluded that the downward trend began in 2005 and was based on a “variety of factors,” most of them outside Obama’s control.” (“AdWatch: Obama’s 1st Campaign TV Ad Defends His Energy Record Without Feel-Good Images,” The Associated Press, 1/20/12)

A Decrease In Dependence On Foreign Oil Is “Not Tethered To Anything Obama Has Done” And Is Due To Factors “Before Obama Took Office.” “The Obama ad that quickly slips in claims that slickly appear to be the result of Obama’s policies, though the ad does not directly make that claim—a reference to 2.7 million clean-energy jobs, a note that for the first time in 13 years foreign oil imports are below 50 percent. Those figures are correct, but they are also not tethered to anything Obama has done. The report that mentioned the 2.7 million jobs simply said that is how many potentially exist. Meanwhile, the Energy Department cited a host of reasons why foreign oil imports have declined, noting the main reason was ‘a significant contraction in consumption’ because of the poor economy and changes in efficiency that began ‘two years before the 2008 crisis’—ie, before Obama took office.” (Glenn Kessler, “Obama Ad Cherry-Picks Fact Checking Organization,”Washington Post’s The Fact Checker, 1/19/12)

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