Obama: Green energy not ‘socialist plot’

President Obama quipped Sunday night that energy efficiency initiatives are not a “socialist plot” in remarks that contrasted his energy policies with rival Mitt Romney’s.

The president, fundraising in Los Angeles, addressed energy during a $25,000-per-plate dinner with backers that included actor George Clooney.

“On energy, I’m big on oil and gas, and developing clean coal technology, but I also believe that if we’re ever going to have control of our energy future, then we’ve got to invest in solar and wind and biofuels, and that it does make sense for us to double our fuel-efficiency standards on cars,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript.

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“And that's not a socialist plot for us to reduce our energy usage,” Obama said to laughter, according to the transcript. “It’s the smart thing to do. It’s right for our national energy. It’s right for our economy. It’s right for the environment. [Romney] disagrees.”

Obama didn’t get specific about Romney's alleged disagreement.

But the GOP nominee in late August bashed new auto mileage rules for model years 2017-2025 that will ultimately require automakers to build cars and light trucks with a fleet-wide average of 54.5 miles-per-gallon.

Romney, through a spokeswoman, called the standards “extreme,” and said they will “limit the choices available to American families.”

The Romney campaign also emphasized the higher up-front costs of the vehicles, while the Obama administration touted savings in fuel costs over time and reduced oil consumption. (Click here for much more on the rules.)

While energy efficiency programs often have bipartisan support, various federal standards have drawn pushback from some Republicans who call them undue federal intrusion into consumer choices.

House Republicans, over the last two years, have sought to roll back lightbulb efficiency standards contained in a bipartisan 2007 energy law.

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