By Geneva Sands - 08/23/12 08:49 PM EDT
"It is achievable. This is not some pie-in-the-sky sort of thing. This is a real achievable objective," said Romney at a campaign event in New Mexico.
"If I'm the president of the United States, in a few months here, I will set a national goal of America and North America, North American energy independence by 2020 ... that means we produce all the energy we use in North America, and there are a number of things that I'm going to do to make that happen," said Romney.
The presidential hopeful pointed to a bar chart on stage, which he used to explain his goals. He told the audience that under a Romney administration, additional energy production would come from offshore oil drilling, "tight oil" from fracking, Alaskan drilling, natural gas, biofuels and a partnership with Canada.
Romney also said he expects a reduction in conventional energy sources, like wells and fields already in use, over the next 10 years.
The Romney campaign used the roll-out to accuse President Obama of insufficient energy policies that have harmed the economy.
“President Obama has presided over a hodgepodge of energy policies that have left middle-class families struggling with higher costs and fewer jobs. He’s waged a job-destroying war on coal, while impeding other domestic sources of energy production," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in a statement.
Vice presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised Romney's plan and attacked Obama's record in a pre-recorded interview set to air Thursday night on CNBC.
"Mitt Romney has been more specific with bold solutions on how to get economic growth turned back on in America than anybody else in this debate, including President Obama. Today he offered a very comprehensive energy policy to make North America energy independent by 2020," said Ryan, according to remarks sent out by CNBC.
The Obama team quickly rejected Romney's claims, saying Romney's policies would take the country "backward" and fuel oil company profits.
"If anything, Romney’s policies would take us backward. He wants to keep giving billions of dollars in tax subsidies to the big oil and gas companies and recklessly open new areas for drilling, but turn our back on increasing energy efficiency and developing our clean, homegrown energy sources," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement. "That’s not a recipe for energy independence — it would only ensure that big oil’s profits continue to increase while we cede our clean energy sector, which is supporting jobs in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa, to China."
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter accused Romney of "doing the bidding of big oil" on a conference call with reporters following Romney's speech.
"The plans that [Romney] is putting on the table really are just rubber
stamping oil companies’ drilling plans," she said. "What Mitt Romney outlined today was not a recipe for energy
independence. It was just the same old scheme to line the pockets of big
Cutter and other campaign officials argue that the president also supports drilling, but say that Obama's record and proposals have promoted investments in green energy as well.
—Ben Geman contributed to this story.