One of the nation’s biggest oil lobbyists in January warned the President that he could make life very uncomfortable for his re-election chances if he didn’t approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The oil industry’s top lobbyist warned the Obama administration Wednesday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline or face “huge political consequences” in an election year.
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said it would be a “huge mistake” for President Barack Obama to reject the 1,700-mile, Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Obama faces a Feb. 21 deadline to decide whether the $7 billion pipeline is in the national interest.
“Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest,” Gerard said at the trade association’s annual “State of American Energy” event. “A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences.”
Jump to six weeks later:
Soaring gasoline prices are threatening to undercut President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects and offering Republicans an easy target. With prices pushing $4 a gallon and threatening to go even higher, Obama sought Thursday to confront rising public anxiety and strike back at his GOP critics.
Obama said dismissively that all the Republicans can talk about is more drilling — “a bumper sticker … a strategy to get politicians through an election” — when the nation’s energy challenges demand much more. In a speech in Miami, he promoted the expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration but also the development of new forms of energy.
For all the political claims, economists say there’s not much a president of either party can do about gasoline prices. Certainly not in the short term. But it’s clear that people are concerned — a new Associated Press-GfK poll says seven in 10 find the issue deeply important — so it’s sure to be a political issue through the summer.
You do the math. I’m thinking Big Oil already has, and they’re liking the numbers they see. The Republicans and the Village certainly aren’t above concern trolling President Obama, either. Remember, he’s “bad for business” when he doesn’t give corporations the “certainty” of a negative tax rate and all the steak fajita grandes they can eat on Tuesdays.
Presidents may not be able to do much about gasoline prices, but oil companies sure as hell can.