Dems, Obama campaign rush to define Ryan’s energy image

Ryan's plan includes substantial cuts to Energy Department (DOE) spending, and would prevent new loans and loan guarantees under DOE programs that support advanced vehicle and renewable energy projects. Waxman is the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Separately, on Monday a spokesman for President Obama’s reelection campaign used Obama’s swing through Iowa — a battleground state — to remind voters of Romney’s opposition to the wind energy tax credit that’s popular among both parties in the Hawkeye State.

Spokesman Ben LaBolt made sure to work Ryan into the equation when previewing Obama’s remarks on the wind credit, an incentive that expires at year’s end that the president is pressing Congress to extend. Obama is also trying to cast Ryan as obstructing the farm bill.

LaBolt, appearing on MSNBC Monday, noted the wind credit is “essential to support wind energy jobs across the state.”

“So ultimately, I think when Iowans take a look at the issues, they will ultimately side with the president and not with Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan,” LaBolt said.

Ryan’s budget plan goes after the White House energy agenda hard.

“The president’s energy policies have been characterized by punitive regulations on economically competitive sources of energy, coupled with reckless spending on uncompetitive alternatives,” it states, taking aim at the bankruptcy of the DOE-backed California solar firm Solyndra in alleging more broadly that the White House agenda “failed.”

Ryan's plan also calls for greatly expanding U.S. oil-and-gas leasing and removing the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“This budget reverses the president’s policies that drive up gas prices, and instead promotes an all-of-the-above strategy for unlocking American energy production to help lower costs, create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil,” a summary states.

But environmentalists are looking to cast Ryan as an arm of the oil industry.

“There is a reason big polluters have given Paul Ryan hundreds of thousands of dollars and why the Koch Brothers are one of his top donors – he’s tried to turn their wildest fantasies into law,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement over the weekend.

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