Obama touts new energy agenda

Sarah Gardner Mar 21, 2012

Tess Vigeland: Today President Obama launched a two-day, four-stop “energy tour,” taking him to Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio. He started in Boulder City, Nev., at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility. It’s the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the country.

As Marketplace’s Sarah Gardner reports, the president’s trip comes amid increasing concern from his campaign that rising gas prices could unravel his bid for re-election.

Sarah Gardner: After President Obama landed in Las Vegas today,  he may have noticed the gas price signs along the route to Boulder City. They’re nearing $4 a gallon in that state.

Obama’s Republican presidential rivals are hammering him over gas prices. And so are many voters.

Michael Levi: A lot of them think it’s the president’s fault and he wants to convince them that it isn’t.

Energy scholar Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations. Levi says Obama also wants to explain his energy policy, which Levi argues has shifted. Obama started out pushing hard for a federal cap on greenhouse gases and strict limits on oil drilling. Now, Levi says, Obama’s got an “all of the above” strategy, emphasizing both renewable power and fossil fuels, which leaves the president vulnerable.

Levi: One of the problems the president has is that when he says ‘I like wind power,’ people hear ‘I hate oil.’

And vice versa, of course. That double-edged sword will be most apparent when Obama visits Oklahoma tomorrow. He’s stopping at a pipe yard owned by TransCanada, the company building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Oil producers say they’ll show up in protest because the president’s delayed the pipeline. But environmentalists are furious with him as well for even considering it.

David Konisky teaches public policy at Georgetown.

David Konisky: There’s the potential that he upsets some of his environmental constituents but I think for the president he is more worried about taking care of the concerns of the average American.

Who want the president to do something — anything — to lower gas prices.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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