Oil industry launches ad campaign focused on 2012 election

While President Obama and the Republicans White House hopefuls have made energy a part of their campaigns, the issue so far has not emerged as a top-tier priority for the candidates.

Gerard called for expanded domestic oil-and-gas production and criticized the Obama administration’s drilling policies, which have become a major target of Republicans and drill-state Democrats in recent years.

“Frankly, this vision and its policies are disconnected from current economic and energy reality,” Gerard said. “These policies and this vision are failing us.”

But Gerard insisted that the advertising campaign is not partisan and will not endorse a specific candidate.

“It’s not about candidates, it’s not about political parties, it’s not even about political philosophy. Energy should not be a partisan issue,” Gerard said. “We believe a vote for energy will elevate the energy conversation.”

Gerard would not say how much API is spending on the ads, but he noted that the trade group will “make a significant investment” in the campaign.

But environmental groups quickly dismissed the new campaign Wednesday. Greenpeace released a video advertisement mocking the API campaign.

"Don't let big oil script our energy future," the mock advertisement says. "Vote for yourself, not oil executives."

— This story was updated at 2:55 p.m.

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