As public angst grows over gas prices, President Obama hits the road today in hopes of reinvigorating his argument that the USA must embrace a broad strategy to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.
The two-day trip, which will take him to the Copper Mountain Solar Facility 1 in Nevada, oil and gas drilling sites on federal land in New Mexico and a segment of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma, is an opportunity for the president to highlight his "all-of-the-above" energy strategy, which calls for investment in clean energy and expanding domestic oil and gas production.
The trip comes as Obama is getting blamed by the GOP -- most notably Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich -- for the rising price of gasoline, which stood at a national average of $3.84 per gallon on Tuesday. The national average hit an all-time high of $4.11 in July 2008.
Gingrich has said that if he's elected president, he will bring the price of gas down to $2.50 a gallon. Meanwhile, Romney has called on Obama to fire Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and dubbed the top advisers Obama's "gas hike trio."
Obama has fired back at Republicans for suggesting there are quick fixes to lowering gas prices. White House and campaign aides to the president say that Americans share the president's embrace of clean energy and agree with Obama's suggestion that there are no "silver bullets" to fix gas prices.
Recent polls suggest that Americans' patience is growing thin as prices inch toward the $4 mark. An overwhelming number -- 85 percent -- say Obama and Congress should take "immediate" action to keep a lid on prices, according to a Gallup Poll this month.
The White House and Republicans are even at odds about whether oil production and gas is up or down. The Obama administration says production on public lands and waters is up 13% on average in its first three years compared with the last three years of the George W. Bush administration, and natural gas production on federal lands is up 6 percent.
Republicans say that oil production on federal lands was down 11 percent in 2011 from the previous year, while gas production on federal lands dropped 6%.
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