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Gingrich assails Obama on oil

Feb. 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM   |   Comments

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TULSA, Okla., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich Tuesday called President Barack Obama's energy policy "outrageously anti-American."

Gingrich said Obama want to see the price of a gallon of gasoline rise to the European level of $9 or $10.

"His policy has been outrageously anti-American energy," the former U.S. House speaker said on CBS News. "The high price of gasoline is a direct result of Obama."

Gingrich said the Democratic president envisions "a fantasy world where we're all going to wind up buying an electric car."

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters during his daily briefing that Gingrich "loves his ad libs, there's no question about that. ... I enjoyed them a lot when I covered him."

But, Carney said, the "extensive list of facts" shows "all of the actions the president has taken since being sworn into office to increase domestic oil production, to increase domestic gas production."

"But the fact is, you have to have an approach that's comprehensive, that takes a long term look at reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy, increasing domestic production, and developing alternative sources of fuel. And that's the approach the president has taken," Carney said.

"The rising gas prices is clearly the effect of a variety of factors on the global price of oil. They include unrest in certain regions of the world, they include growth in areas like China and India ... ."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, campaigning in Ohio Monday for the GOP presidential nomination, attacked what he called Obama's "radical environmentalist policies," asserting they helped push gasoline prices to near record highs and threaten to derail the economic recovery.

There's a "lack of real scientific evidence" about global warming, Santorum said, arguing "phony studies" on climate change are not "not climate science but political science."

Santorum said Obama's disapproval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline system from Canada to the Gulf Coast, and alleged White House foreign-policy mismanagement in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, were also pushing oil prices upward.

Previously, Gingrich said while campaigning in Oklahoma City that beating Obama is "a duty of national security."

"The president wants to unilaterally weaken the United States, he wants to cut the aid to Israel for its anti-ballistic missile defense, he refuses to take Iran seriously," Gingrich told about 4,000 people at Oral Roberts University, a charismatic Christian university in Tulsa, Okla.

Gingrich characterized the Obama administration as "willfully dishonest" about world dangers and having adopted a defense budget "based on that dishonesty."

The proposed 2013 defense budget is about $614 billion, nearly $32 billion less than the current budget.

"So defeating Barack Obama becomes, in fact, a duty of national security," Gingrich said, "because the fact is, he is incapable of defending the United States."

He called Obama "the most dangerous president in modern American history" in "a world that is very dangerous."

"And I say this to those of you who represent the next generation because you're going to bear the consequences. We are really at risk someday in your lifetime of losing an American city," Gingrich said.

Oklahoma is one of 10 states holding Super Tuesday primaries March 6. The nine other states are Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Michigan and Arizona vote a week earlier, Feb. 28. Washington state holds its primary March 3.

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, struggling to shore up his Midwest support, was also in Ohio, assailing Santorum after a trio of losses to him in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

He called Santorum a Democrat in Republican clothing when it comes to spending.

"One of the people I'm running against, Sen. Santorum, goes to Washington, calls himself a budget hawk, then after he's been there a while he says he's no longer a budget hawk," Romney said at life science company Meridian Bioscience Inc. in Cincinnati before a private fundraiser.

"Well I am a budget hawk," the former Massachusetts governor said. "I don't want to spend more money than we take in.

"When Republicans go to Washington and spend like Democrats, you're going to have a lot of spending, and that's what we've seen over the last several years," Romney said. "It's time, in my view, for us to do something that we talk about but rarely have done, and that is cut the amount of federal spending."

Libertarian-leaning White House hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, touted hemp to North Dakota farmers Monday, saying it was an alternative crop that in a free-market economy farmers should be freely permitted to grow.

"There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp," Paul told about 300 people in Jamestown, about 100 miles east of Bismarck. "There is no reason. Hemp is a good product."

Hemp is related to marijuana but doesn't have its mind-affecting properties. It is illegal to cultivate industrially because of its relation to marijuana.

North Dakota is among 10 states that have defied federal law and made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal.

But the states have yet to grow hemp because of resistance from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which categorizes it under the Controlled Substances Act.

The product was used extensively by the United States during World War II for military uniforms, canvas and rope, with much of the crop cultivated in Kentucky and the Midwest.

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