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In 2008, Obama Seemed OK With High Gas Prices

by Keith Koffler on February 23, 2012, 8:54 am

President Obama suggested in 2008 that he didn’t mind having higher prices at the pump, as long as the sticker shock to consumers wasn’t too sudden.

The White House is currently insisting Obama is doing what he can to keep the lid on gasoline prices, while blaming uncontrollable market forces for the increases.

But in a June 10, 2008 interview on CNBC with John Harwood, Obama clearly indicates that his problem with the high prices prevailing then was not that they are high, but that they ramped up too quickly. He talks about ways to mitigate the impact of high prices instead of ways to reduce them and suggests that the increase could be beneficial, saying, “we can come out of this stronger.”

From the interview:

HARWOOD: As difficult as this is for consumers right now, is, in fact, high gas prices what we need to let the market work, a line incentive so that we do shift to alternative means of energy?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, 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. So…

HARWOOD: So could these high prices help us?

Sen. 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 into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly US automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.

Obama’s comments are consistent with a 2008 statement by Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, who overtly called for an increase in gasoline prices in order to incentivize the use of alternative fuels.

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said. Prices in Europe at the time ranged from about $8-$9 per gallon.

As recently as March 2011, Chu suggested rising gas prices were an inevitable fact of life saying, “the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues.”

H/T to Jim Geraghty over at National Review, where I first read about Obama’s 2008 remarks.

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Jeff February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

So shouldn’t Obama be taking a victory lap for successfully raising the gas prices? Oh wait, the prices went up too fast, and it’s speculators, Iran, and greedy oil company’s fault. I see, he wants the prices to go up even though he doesn’t really want them to go up, and since gas prices are going up, even though he wants them to go up, it’s not his fault; it’s because of speculators, Iran, and greedy oil companies. Ok, I get it.

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AZ Granny February 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

Not only is Obama ok with high gas prices. He said in 2008, “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” It’s been his plan all along to raises prices on energy.

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Lizzy February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

Oh yes I remember that with that blank smirk meaning I don’t pay why should I give a rat’s a–! He seems to be OK with anything being high
cause he pays for nothing. Seems he himself was OK with being high.:)

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srdem65 February 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

If we listen closely, we can hear the brakes being applied on the economy with this huge increase in fuel prices. The trucking companies that deliver everything we buy can’t absorb the hit to their bottom line, farmers will be hard-pressed to keep their equipment running and the working poor will just have to park their vehicles. America doesn’t just live in the big cities with mass transit, most of us live in wide-spread rural and suburban areas and need our personal vehicles to go anywhere and everywhere.

Inflation, depression, unemployment, civil unrest, and class warfare are not the way to inspire confidence or assure reelection of any President.

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kmbog February 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

Diesel is averaging 3.96/gallon this week surely we’ll see 4.00/gallon soon.

http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_w.htm

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

Well said srdem.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yeah–what does the president care–he and his set-for-life-don’t-worry family don’t have to fret or even notice $70 to fill the tank–they don’t even pay to fill a tank, on plane or auto, It’s all a board game to these people.

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WMP February 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I live in California and not a high income part of California – about as middle class an area as you will find anywhere. Yesterday morning on my way to work, gas at my local station was $4.0999; when I came home at 6:00 it was $4.2599; Tuesday, February 14 it was $3.8999. While you can find gas as low as $3.999 a mile from my house – those stations have been going up steadily. We keep saying – another few cents a gallon isn’t going to affect me too much, but the increases are staggering. I know it isn’t one person’s or one company’s fault or one set of facts that cause this, but when this happened in 2008 – it was George Bushes fault because he was in bed with the oil companies; now our President blames someone else because according to him, he is doing everything he can to create or promote an energy policy that will be better in the long run. Someone in the posts said it right – most of us do not live in a metropolitan area where a rail system will work. I live in a populated area, but it has no where near the density or population to warrant rail. I bought a new car last year after 13 years and I was very concerned about the price, gas mileage, etc. I opted for a Toyota RAV4 – didn’t want to pay more than $30,000 for a car but wanted something dependable, decent gas mileage, 4 doors and comfortable. While there are some electric cars out there that probably are close to the same price – most of them are significantly smaller. Even a $30,000 car has a monthly payment that would be prohibitive for people living on a tight budget. How do these people, with a straight face, suggest most people can buy a Volt or other higher priced electric cars. I drive about 18 miles per day to and from my job and I don’t like these prices. Within a very short time, grocery prices, clothing prices, etc. are going to be reflecting this tremendous increase in the prices we pay – once again, a few cents here and there doesn’t sound like much, but multiply that across the board and it becomes significant. People will cut back “again” on those extras they started to sneak in and we will once again hear more about a slow down in our economy – but not to worry, the President and his family will continue to enjoy the freedom to travel whenever they want; eat out whenever they want – this is not envy on my part – it is arrogance on the part of those who have no clue what the “average” family is going and has been going hrough for years now and think we have unlimited wells to draw upon to fund this economy. Very sorry state of affairs.

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Very well said indeed, srdem & WMP.

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Linlee October 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I am shocked by this that our President said this but because I live in San DIego and now gas is up to 5.69 per gallon – I cannot afford to work since Im a commissioned rep selling gift items wholesale to retail, no one is able to afford gift items they need to put gas in their car. I cannot afford driving aimlessly looking for new business- spending more on gas then I made. So for the first time I will vote the the INDEPENDENT candidate since Im not a Romney fan. Pres I have been defending you UNTIL NOW! They need to drill in TEXAS this would give new jobs to people and gas would be probably less then 2.00 per gallon ALL OVER!

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Girly1 February 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

He’s going to regret his decision to abandon the Keystone pipeline. Just last week he was touting the fact that U.S. gasoline consumption was down 3.4%. He neglected to mention the fact that 30M Americans are out of work – thereby reducing consumption!

It was surprising that no one bought up the subject of gas prices and the Keystone pipeline at the debate last night! Obama won’t be happy until everyone owns a Volt, installs solar paneling, and has a winidmill in their backyard!

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mad as ever February 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

my homeowners association won’t be happy with a windmill in my back yard!! the big o better get his act together or he’s H-I-S-T-O-R-Y which i sincerely hope!!!

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm

He will regret the Keystone decision. They’re already trying to blame the Republicans for it. And no one brought it up last night because none of those guys notice when the price of gas goes up.

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John Sherwood February 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

I think we need to send the liar -in -chief to live with his grandmother but wait wouldn’t that put her in a hardship situation to have all of those extra people in the same hut.Oh well the grandson and his brood could sleep outside on the ground and call it a vacation.
Maybe he could convince the people of Kenya to raise their gas prices since they are all related.Something to think about.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

Michelle could beat those Target duds on a rock.

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Just2old February 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

What Jeff said!

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Jeff said it good, I think.

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lc southern February 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

He stated in 2007 he would like to see $5.00 a gallon gas. Higher home heating fuel and electrical rates. Apparently he is making progress on these goals. Wonder why he’s not doing a happy dance? Who cares if Americans want find jobs, have money to eat, keep their family warm…

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lc southern February 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

Geez, won’t not want…

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

Why would any man, much less the elected leader of our country, want to see his fellow Americans suffer with high prices? Because it is not about us, it is all about him and his control over us. Raise the price of gas and you force Americans to cut back on leisure activities until we get to the point where there’s nothing left to cut except necessities. He thinks by doing this he will force us to accept his benevolent government handouts. All he’s really managing to do is build resentment and anger in people who have to pay more and more for daily living expenses with less and less income.

He believes the more government entitlements he hands out the more votes he can buy. He doesn’t know us Americans very well. While he may be able to force us to accept assistance temporarily, most of us will never sell our allegiance for his 30 pieces of silver.

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FromMissouri2 February 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

Susan, though I agree with your comments, to the most part, I am worried about your last statement “most of us”. With the number of people that are on the public doal, pay no tax’s and have no desire to work, what’s so ever, I really wonder some days if it’s not we, the workers who are the fools. Sorry, some days it is REALLY hard to stay upbeat when all around you, you see nothing but takers.

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Car in February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

Stay up beat, FromMisouri2. We’re out here.

My husband said yesterday he wanted to throw in the towel on our business, but he didn’t want to leave his employees in the lurch (not to mention us) . One is expecting a baby- he’s got to hold it together for everyone. THere are good people out here. We just have to find each other and stick together.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

I reject the idea that “most” people who have been forced to take food stamps, for one, don’t want to work and just want to exploit you.

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

Nobody said that.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

Sorry, some days it is REALLY hard to stay upbeat when all around you, you see nothing but takers

FromMissouri2 said the above. Incidentally I am FROM MISSOURI, TOO.

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

I still don’t see where FromMissouri2 said anything about “most” people on food stamps are exploiters. You may not see it where you are, but here in Central Texas I see a lot of takers. They work harder to get their handouts than they ever would at a real job. They sold out long before Obama ever arrived on the scene. The good news is they rarely vote anyway.

I also see many good people who have been forced to accept government assistance. They have lost their wealth, jobs, or homes because of this man’s actions. They despise accepting assistance and are counting the days until they can cast their vote to defeat him so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

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Car in February 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I really think FromMissouri meant that some days it does seem overwhelming. It does seem that everyone wants what they can take from society. Aren’t interested in being productive. It’s easy to get depressed.

Here’s a sad fact – my husband has been SHOCKED at how many people come in to our store as a customer REEKING of alcohol. Middle of the day. Morning. Doesn’t matter. He says, some days more people seem to be on something than not. And, we’re not anti-alcohol (some days, it’s all I can do while watching the news) – but we see men of working age, just drinking and ? what?

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Star February 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I am jealous they can afford booze. As for the “most” thing–she said all around her she saw takers–to me this meant she thought most of the people around here were takers…I guess a distinction could be made–but then you said you saw a lot, too, Susan. So I give up. I would saw a small minority are gaming the system somehow–wish I knew how with the reams of paperwork required–maybe 10%? Food stamps anyway–you have to do the paperwork over and over and even go to an office. Someone else on this site said people were buying Lexuses with their unemployment–I find these judgments and assumptions completely ridiculous. Just my opinion–but based on first-hand experience.

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

Car in is right. Stay upbeat, stick together, and we will make it through this terrible time. He may be able to knock us down, but he will never knock us out. There will always be takers, but I still believe they are in the minority. The majority of Americans are like Car in and her husband who care about their fellow man and persevere because they see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there with us.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

Yup–I agree with this…Defy, defy.

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Lizzy February 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I think when we are a bunch of misery guts as is our right and reality we play into the Obama machine’s hands. They like us
miserable and defeated. However bad our lot is we can’t show
weakness we have to defeat Obama no matter what kind of
fake happy face we have to wear never let him see us waver or
whine. God knows between he and the little woman I’ve heard
enough about shared sacrifice. The only sacrifice MO knows is
when she can’t stuff her face at a 5 star restaurant.

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I like your optimism Susan. And I hope you are right. Hopefully, there’s always a road back. But at some point, the road gets really long, winding, and steep.

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Car in February 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

What is truly amazing is that many still are going to vote for this clown. And that the MSM is still covering for him. They disgust me. My mil called yesterday, and she’s depressed thinking he’s going to win again.

THAT’S EXACTLY what the media wants. Listen to us, get depressed, and don’t go vote.

That’s – really – the only chance he’s got.

Remember how many conservatives and moderates were in his camp in 08? Not a ONE still supports him. How could he possibly win? It’s going to take a Herculean effort by the media, but they appear to be up for it.

Honestly, I wish we could boycott the entertainment industry until they stopped their BS free support they give him. If I had HBO, I would cancel.

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Star February 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

I cancelled long ago and we had a free weekend and I saw I was not missing much.

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Anonna February 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

“And as a consequence, we’ve been consuming energy as if it’s infinite.”

Like someone’s WIFE, who takes a “free” AirForce 2″ ride every time she wants to underline the fact that she is as important as hubby and doesn’t have to wait a few hours to fly on his airplane?

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Car in February 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

*looks for “like” button

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Star February 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

Your avatar makes me laff, Car. Thanks.

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Limousine Liberal expanded to Air Force Two Liberal.

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Car in February 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

Part of business involves trucking so the increase in diesel could KILL us. We’d have to pass the price along. Get ready for EVERYTHING to go up. If it’s delivered from point A to point B, the price will go up.

But on NPR yesterday, I heard some “expert” say that the gas prices could be a boon to the economy because everyone will run out an buy a fuel efficient car.

Haa haaa haaa haaa …

My dad (who lives with us) suggested that the expert was a college dropout, but I’m guessing Harvard Grad is more likely.

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Lizzy February 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

Buy with what? Unless I can get on for barter my charming personality
I will never have another car. The elite and MSM are so clueless about
the life of American’s they should be committed for being deluded
beyond help and unable to mix with normal life because they live in a
bubble of stupidity!

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Shofar February 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Whenever anyone tries to compare the US to Europe, my skin just crawls. The US has an approx.land mass of 3.8 million sq. miles, Europe 3.9 million sq.mile. The US has approx. 315 million residents, Europe 738 million. The US has a population density of approx. 89 persons p/sq. mile. Europe – 190 p/sq. mile.

The US is made up of ONE country, while Europe is made up of 50 countries.

All one has to do is set back and look at the differences between the two regions and see that a European model is not an effective example of how to govern. Population density alone makes things such as high speed rail service impractical. With a population as spread out as the US has, high speed rail is fool hardy.

The US is the most diverse single country in the world, due to the massive waves of immigration over the course of its history (much of which came from Europe), vs. Europe which still has the divisions of independent governments and the subsequent cultural, language, and historical animosities. While Sooners may talk smack about Aggies, both still consider themselves as American first. In Europe, Germans are Germans first, not European Union citizens. Just look at all the debate on how to save the Greek government, or Spain, or any other European country that is going into default.

Out side of the Civil War, over 100 years ago, Americans have not fought against each other, but work together to move the nation forward. In Europe there have been more wars and regional conflicts in the past 100 years than I care to count.

This administration is touts a European model for health care, yet in Europe, each individual country has its own health care model. No one single European country, save perhaps Russia which spans two continents, has the same population level of the US.

All of this Europe idolizing as the model of modern government we should be following in the US makes me cringe. The liberal media, leftist academics, and this administration blindness to the historical and sociological differences that exist in Europe makes me wonder if ANYONE on the left has ever opened a history book.

We are not Europe. Europe is a continent, and despite the best efforts to paint Europe as a single entity, it is not, and never will be.

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barkley pontree February 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

The gas price debate cracks me up. Back when Bush/Cheney were in charge, the rise in gas prices was some plot by them so all their oil buddies could make a lot of money. I don’t hear anyone suggesting that about Obama. Didn’t hear it about Clinton, but do remember it about Bush I.

So, if the media are to be believed, rising gas prices during a republican administration is a systematic way for rich oil guys to make lots of money engineered by the president. During a democratic administration it is just one of those things a president can’t do anything about….

barkleypontree.blogspot.com

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Keith Koffler February 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

This is so very, very true.

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MT for re-redistribution February 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Yeah, what a putz, to accuse W of not having an energy policy, but now whining about ‘uncontrollable market forces” geez what a piece of work.

Energy policy is where I lean left (more gov involvement). It is a duty of our federal gov to do the right thing or the country, and we are currently dependent on foreign oil. I believe O is on the right path in that the sudden increase in gas prices destroyed Detroit. Domestic car makers had just tooled up to build jumbo SUVs because that was what the market wanted. But the jump in gas prices made sales completely tank, making more fuel efficient cars honda, toyota) more attractive.

So I believe the fed gov should get involved to stabilize the gas prices nationally via a gas tax, and the proceeds should be used to invest in technologies that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. No, not talking about $9 per gallon. Just keep the price artificially high when the price drops.

This would offer a more stable market for car makers, and help plot a course out of the mideast. Both goals actual duties of the fed.

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Susan February 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

The UAW destroyed Detroit, not the October surprise the Democrats pulled to win the 2008 election.

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MT for re-redistribution February 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

true dat, and unions are always generally at odds with true ‘success’, but a wildly fluctuating market due to OPEC flexing its muscle on us contributed.

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Mindiddy February 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I’m curious who the tax would be levied on? The consumer is already paying a significant tax at the pump. It seems like drilling for domestic oil now would help in the short term. Ongoing research would hopefully provide answers for the future, and since oil companies are responsible for most of the research the profits could go back in to making us less dependent on foreign oil. Seems like a win-win for the U.S.
The fact is that until we’re willing to find substitutes for all the byproducts of oil putting fuel in our tanks is just one of the problems we have.

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Laurie February 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm

His new mantra is “Drill baby drill!”

Oh Sarah, you gotta love that.

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