The Campaign Spot

Obama: On gas prices, ‘I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.’

At first I thought the RNC was making too much of this Obama statement on gas prices but after furthre review, I think this has potential to be rather damaging to the Illinois senator:

Barack Obama: I think that… we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn’t had an energy policy.* And as a consequence we’ve been consuming energy as if it’s infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are.
CNBC’s John Harwood: So could the (high) oil prices help us?
Barack Obama: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money in their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more rapidly, particularly U.S. automakers…

The obvious inference is that Obama doesn’t object to $4 a gallon gas per se, just how rapidly the price increased. Most Americans hate it and want gas prices to go down as rapidly as possible. Obama wants to “help people to make the adjustment” to “new circumstances.”
Is reducing the price of a gallon of gas a policy priority for Obama? Or does he, like Thomas Friedman, believe that the president should “guarantee people a high price of gasoline — forever.”
Or perhaps he’s like Andrew Sullivan, who regularly laments that “gas prices are too low,” periodically forgetting to remind readers that he never learned how to drive (at least as of 2004).
* Says the man who voted for President Bush’s energy bill.

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