By Alicia M. Cohn - 04/19/12 01:41 PM EDT
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) blasted President Obama following his proposed "crackdown" on firms found to be manipulating the oil market, saying he is "waving a tar baby in the air" as a distraction from high gas prices.
"This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem," Bachmann said in an interview Wednesday with The Shark Tank, a conservative news organization that covers Florida politics. "I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everyone else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem. It's always everyone else's fault."
The term "tar baby" is a racially loaded phrase coined in the "Brer Rabbit" tales. The term generally means a "sticky situation," but has also been used as a derogatory term for a black person.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, apologized last year after he said associating with Obama was "like touching a tar baby."
Bachmann's attack on Obama comes after he pushed Congress this week for legislation that would increase penalties on oil speculators manipulating the market. He called for increased federal supervision of the markets and funding for enforcement.
“We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit,” Obama said during a Rose Garden speech Tuesday.
Rising gas prices have already been used in election-year attacks by both parties. Republicans in Congress who are pushing for an expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration to ease the price crunch have already expressed opposition to Obama's proposal.
"The problem is that liberals continue to lock up the energy resources that we have in the United States," she said. "The president already has every tool at his disposal to deal with speculators. ... If there's a problem with that you got to the Federal Trace Commission or the Security Exchange Commission [sic]. If there's a problem, President Obama is the problem for failing to use the tools that he has.
"It's anybody but Obama for Obama. And that's why we have to call him out," she said. "The president is a complete and utter fraud and a hypocrite on this issue, with all due respect."