Gov. Daniels: Obama administration 'wanted higher gas prices'

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) blamed President Obama for the spike in oil prices, saying the administration had pushed for consumers to pay higher prices at the pump.

"Let's give the president credit for one domestic policy that works. He wanted higher gas prices and he got them," said Daniels on Fox News Sunday.

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"Secretary Chu said $8 are about what they pay in Europe. It would be great. Secretary Salazar said $10 and it still wouldn't be for drilling in the places where we know there's an awful lot of domestic production. And so, they have gotten the doubling of gas prices and perhaps worse, it's a conscious policy of this administration. Maybe the one thing they set out to do and actually accomplished." he said.

The GOP is blaming the White House for the recent rise in gas prices.  Obama on Thursday however accused Republicans of "licking their chops" over high gas prices. He said that while there is no quick fix, his administration has done all it can to reduce reliance on foreign oil, expanding domestic production and investing in renewable energy sources.

Republicans have leaped on comments from Energy Secretary Steven Chu to the Wall Street Journal in September 2008 saying that government needed to "figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."


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Drivers in Europe pay far more than American consumers to fill up.

The 2008 Journal story noted that Chu, who then was head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.”

But Chu had backed off from supporting higher taxes on gasoline during his confirmation process to be Energy secretary in 2009.

"When you have environmental regulations that are going to raise the price of refining gas, possibly put some of our scarce refineries out of business, guess what? You are going to get higher gas prices," said Daniels on Sunday.

Daniels also weighed in on the hotly contested race for the GOP primary. Asked if the negative, tough tone between frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum would hurt the eventual nominee, Daniels pointed the finger at Obama's campaign.


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"The president is one of the main perpetrators of negative politics," he said.  "But, we can all wish, and I do, that it would subside some. But I don't necessarily blame the candidates. There's a certain dynamic to the race that leads to a magnification of small differences and people picking on each other."

Daniels also blamed the White House for the attention focused on social issues, in particular the administration's birth control mandate.

The Indiana governor said GOP candidates intended to stay focused on the economy, but that the president had started the fight over birth control.

"They didn't start this, the president did, with a very intrusive liberty-limiting decision," he said. "They were asked to react to it.”

Daniels again ruled out any interest in entering the GOP presidential race.

"I crossed that decision bridge a long time ago, my family did, and I'm trying when I get the chance to play some role and look forward to helping our eventual nominee," he insisted.


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