Romney to Obama: I'd fire that "gas hike trio" of yours ASAP if I were you

In his interview on “Fox News Sunday” this morning, Mitt Romney again ratcheted up his rhetoric on gas prices, calling for the president to fire what he dubbed the “gas hike trio” of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. Here’s The Washington Post with the recap:

“When [President Obama] ran for office, he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up,” Romney said. “He said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views, and he selected three people to help him implement that program. The secretary of energy, the secretary of interior and EPA administrator. And this gas hike trio has been doing the job over the last three-and-a-half years, and gas prices are up. The right course is they ought to be fired because the president has apparently suffered election-year conversion. He’s now decided that gasoline prices should come down.” …

Romney, who first called for their firing at a town hall meeting Saturday night in Collinsville, Ill., is talking more and more about gas prices and their impact on families across the country. He said the gas prices are pinching middle class families, who now struggle to fill up their tanks. …

Romney recalled meeting a woman on a recent campaign trip to Missouri. “I spoke with a teacher in St. Louis who was out of work and she’s staying on unemployment because she said, in part, the cost of getting to and from work at a temporary teaching assignment was just so expensive, given gasoline,” Romney said. “She couldn’t afford to go back to work.”

Earlier this week, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, Romney also said he “absolutely” blames the president’s policies for high gas prices. When Hemmer pointed out that a Fox News poll shows the majority of Americans don’t think Obama is to blame, Romney didn’t back down. He stressed instead that the president’s decisions have sent an unacceptable signal to the world that the country is not committed to developing its own resources. That’s exactly the message the GOP candidates need to send: The policies pursued by the president and his gas hike trio — from sinking subsidies into failed solar firms to slowing the pace of permitting in the Gulf to rejecting the Keystone pipeline — will ultimately exacerbate the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Remember: The effects of these policies will take some time to be felt. Production might be up right now and imports of foreign oil might be down — but common sense tells us that a slower pace of permitting and the rejection of the pipeline won’t help to reduce dependence. The oil and natural gas market will likely always be a global market, but the United States could wield more influence in it if the president would unleash American energy companies. Regardless of whether voters blame the president’s policies for prices or whether those policies are actually to blame for high prices, the administration has demonstrated repeatedly — by its actions, not necessarily by the president’s words — that its ultimate interest when it comes to energy is to reward preferred energy producers and punish others — and, if gas prices go up as a result, so be it.

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