By Molly K. Hooper - 03/18/12 08:20 PM EDT
President Obama’s top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, accused Republicans of selling “snake oil” as they press for increased domestic oil drilling to drive down the cost of gasoline.
Axelrod told CBS News’s Bob Schieffer that, “the notion that we can simply drill our way out of this or that somehow that, if we -- if we say that, that the gas prices will go down magically now -- Newt Gingrich's $2.50 a gallon and so on, that's not oil talk, that's snake oil talk.”
Axelrod attempted to refute claims that White House policies are to blame for the precipitous increase in fuel prices.
"What (Obama’s) enacted during this administration is that we need a -- an all-of-the-above policy so we can break this dependence on oil that we -- so we -- yes, we need to produce more oil domestically. We're up 12 percent since he's been president. We're producing more than at any time in eight or nine years,” Axelrod said on Schieffer’s Sunday morning talk show, “Face the Nation.”
But Republicans were quick to pounce on that assertion, noting that it was the energy policies implemented by Obama’s predecessors – former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – that resulted in increased domestic production.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Scheiffer, “this idea that David Axelrod is spinning that now we've got record production – we've got record production because of the actions of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton years ago, because it takes time.”
Priebus proceeded to attack Obama for failing to approve construction of the Keystone XL trans-continental oil pipeline designed to bring oil sands from Alberta down to the Gulf Coast. Proponents contend the project could have resulted in thousands of new jobs and increased oil supply.
“This president has shut down onshore drilling. He's shut down offshore drilling. He's shut down Keystone. And so now we're sitting in a place where we're no better off today than where we were three years ago. And we've got a president that's now coming back on the campaign trail again talking about an all-of-the-above energy policy. It's ridiculous,” Priebus said.
Asked whether the Obama administration was too hasty in denying approval of the Keystone pipeline, Axelrod retorted that that was a question for the Republican leaders in Congress – who insisted on including it in a deal to extend the payroll tax cut.
“What they did was force a premature decision on this. The State Department said they need more time to evaluate the project and all of its implications, including what it would mean for the water aquifers in Nebraska. And the Congress wanted to force a decision for political reasons. And they did. And so not having the time to make a proper decision, they had to decline this proposal. If it's resubmitted, it will be considered again, and hopefully in the timeframe that is appropriate,” Axelrod said.
He stated that President Obama “has approved dozens of pipelines. … So he certainly is not hostile to transporting oil, but we have to do it in the appropriate way, and protect the public safety in doing it. So no, it may have been a mistake for the Republicans to force the decision so quickly.”