President Obama criticizes Republicans over gas price controversy
Obama aides worry that the rise in prices could reverse the country's economic gains and the president's improved political standing.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that though Obama's approval rating on the economy has climbed, 58 percent disapprove of what he's doing on gas prices.
White House officials point to increased oil production and decreased consumption as evidence that Obama's policies are working and will lead to greater energy independence in the long run. But they assert there is little Obama - or any president - can do to change the trajectory of prices now.
Despite more domestic oil and less consumption, "these prices are going up, and that tells you that there are other things beyond our control, like unrest in the Middle East or other factors like the growth of emerging countries such as China and India," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. To be sure, oil and gas production has increased during the Obama administration, though the trend began during the presidency of George W. Bush, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The increase has reversed a decline that began in 1986, and the agency projects that by 2020 oil production will reach a level not seen since 1994. The agency also has reported a drop in petroleum consumption, caused by the economic downturn after the 2008 recession, new efficiencies and changes in consumer behavior.
While in Florida, Obama also plans to raise money, including a $30,000-a-person event at the Windermere, Fla., home of Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter. An avid basketball fan, Obama will attend a dinner Thursday at Carter's house just three days before the NBA All-Star Game in nearby Orlando. Obama also will attend fundraising events at the Biltmore Hotel and at the Coral Gables home of lawyer Chris Korge, a top fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.
Last week, Obama took a three-day West Coast trip and raised about $8 million in eight campaign events.
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