3/20: The Toll of Gas on Campaign 2012

By Barbara Carvalho

In matters both athletic and political, the best defense is always the best offense.  With the rapidly escalating gas wars threatening to engulf campaign 2012, it seems the Obama team is trying to do just that.  Faced with some serious incoming about soaring fuel costs from GOPers Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich, President Obama is promoting his energy policies this week with a trip to three swing states – Ohio, New Mexico, and Nevada – as well as Oklahoma, the starting point for the southern half of the Keystone pipeline.  In so doing, Politico’s Darren Goode writes that Obama hopes to exorcise the Keystone and Solyndra demons.

The president has already satirized the $2.50 a gallon price tag that has been advanced by one presidential wannabe and has put the $4 billion oil company subsidy on the table.   Clearly, both of these positions are taken from the campaign consultants’ counterattack playbook.  Let’s not forget Obama poking fun at the opponents of renewable fuel as being akin to membership in the “world is flat” society.

Good enough.  But, Americans are reminded of the energy crisis and their pain at the pump every time their gas gauges approach empty.  Who’s to blame?  Will rising gas prices emerge as the 2012 campaign equivalent of the financial crisis of 2008?  We will be looking at these and other questions in our upcoming national survey.  The stakes are getting higher, as well.