President Barack Obama highlighted the need to disregard political rhetoric when it comes to gas prices, a hot campaign topic among his GOP rivals, in his speech at Nashua Community College on Thursday afternoon.
Several students in the crowd began chanting "Four more years, four more years," as Obama exited the building around 2 p.m., shaking hands and waving to people deep in the crowd.
During his speech, Obama talked about the need for the U.S. to lead the way in finding new avenues of energy efficiency and alternative fuels.
"Now, I know this is hard to believe, but some politicians are seeing higher gas prices as a political opportunity. You’re shocked, aren’t you? And right in the middle of an election year. Who would’ve thought? Recently, the lead of one news story said, 'Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops,'" Obama said.
"I’ll tell you – only in politics do people respond to bad news with such enthusiasm. And you can bet we’ll be hearing more about those magic, three-point plans for $2 gas. Just like we heard about in the last election. Just like we’ve heard about for 30 years. You know the plans I’m talking about: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling," he said.
Obama made use of a graph, copies of which were distributed to all in the crowd, showing the steady decline of foreign oil consumption over the past six years.
"Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years," he said. "That’s a fact. Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now – more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.
"That’s a fact. It’s a fact that we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and approved more than 400 drilling permits since we put in place new safety standards in the wake of the Gulf oil spill," Obama added "It’s a fact that we’ve approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada. Just this week, we announced that we’ll do whatever we can to help speed the construction of a pipeline in Oklahoma that will relieve in a bottleneck of oil that needs to get to the Gulf – something that will help create jobs and encourage more production."