Gingrich hopes gas price populism will fuel comeback

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With oil prices edging above $100 per barrel, the former Speaker hopes his message — and an attack toward President Obama, rather than further mudslinging with front-runner Mitt Romney — could resonate across soon-to-vote primary states.

“$2.50 a gallon gas is not a dream. It’s achievable with the right policies, and that starts with a president who will stop bowing and start drilling,” Gingrich said. “If we take the right steps, we can quickly and dramatically reduce the price of gas by tapping America’s incredible oil and gas resources to increase supply.”

But the issue of lower gas prices is particularly pertinent in Michigan — where lower fuel costs typically engender better car sales — and North Dakota, which has seen booming growth in its oil industry. Michigan votes Feb. 28, while North Dakota is scheduled to vote as part of the March 6 Super Tuesday contests.

Already more than 280,000 Facebook users have "liked" Gingrich's energy petition, and more than 50,000 have discussed the proposal on the social network.

Gingrich is not the only Republican candidate to so farplace a renewed emphasis on energy production. Rick Santorum toured an oil field in North Dakota Wednesday and told supporters he would support lessening regulations on energy companies.

"You are producing a very, very, very important resource to our country that is needed and will be needed even more in the future. As president of the United States, I'll have your back," Santorum said, according to CBS News.

Santorum, too, hit Obama for delaying construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

"We have a president who in the energy sector of our economy is doing everything possible to crush energy production in this country," Santorum said.

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