Outside group targets Obama’s energy record with $3.6M ad buy
A pro-energy group launched a $3.6 million ad buy Thursday lashing out at President Obama’s record, blaming him for rising gas prices and attacking his decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The ads aired in eight states by the American Energy Alliance seek to undercut Mr. Obama’s message that he has increased oil drilling and pushed to develop renewable energy sources, and came as the president unsuccessfully pressured Congress to cut billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies.
The ad, called “Nine Dollar Gas,” says gas prices have nearly doubled on Mr. Obama’s watch and criticizes his opposition to oil drilling in Alaska, his effort to block the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration’s decision to provide more than $500 million in federal loans to solar company Solyndra, which later went bankrupt.
It also places a spotlight on Energy Secretary Steven Chu, quoting him from a 2008 interview as saying that the nation needs to “boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe.” “That’s $9 a gallon,” the ad says. Mr. Chu is then shown saying he doesn’t own a car.
Mr. Chu has since renounced his statement, though under heavy political fire, saying at a recent House hearing that he has tried to reduce gas prices as energy secretary.
The ad concludes: “Tell Obama: We can’t afford his failing energy policies.”
The ads are running in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan, all states crucial to the 2012 presidential campaign.
Democrats called the American Energy Alliance a “front group for big oil,” and released an online ad that highlighted common Obama themes on energy: increased oil production, decisions to require car-makers to raise gas mileage standards, and more renewable energy.
Mr. Obama has argued his case on energy in recent weeks, traveling to a solar plant in Nevada, oil fields in New Mexico and the site of a future pipeline in Oklahoma.
On Thursday, he urged Congress to end the oil subsidies, saying the “oil industry is just fine” and no longer needs “taxpayer giveaways.” The Senate rejected the plan.
The American Energy Alliance’s president is Thomas J. Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. The industrial firm’s top executives are Charles and David Koch, who have been prominent supporters of libertarian and pro-market causes.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is attacked in a new ad purchased by a pro-energy group that is airing in eight presidential election battleground states.