Newt Gingrich: Obama Gets No Credit For Increased Domestic Oil Production

03/22/2012 10:11 am ET

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made gas prices a focus of his campaign in recent weeks, promising to lower prices to $2.50 a gallon if he is elected president.

Gingrich has pinned the blame for the high gas prices on President Barack Obama, even though experts largely agree that presidents have very little control over them.

The solution, for Gingrich and many other Republicans, is to drill here, drill now -- which they argue Obama is not doing enough of. Yet if Obama is being assigned the blame for higher gas prices, he's also getting no credit for increased domestic energy production.

In an interview on NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday, Gingrich said Obama's solution to high gas prices is to "beg the Saudis to pump more oil."

"My question is, Why not Louisiana? Why not Texas? Why not North Dakota? Why not Alaska?" he said.

When host Steve Inskeep pointed out that domestic energy production has increased under Obama, Gingrich said it was all despite the president's policies, not because of them:

Steve Inskeep: Well, if you'll forgive me, Mr. Speaker, you mention North Dakota, you mentioned Texas, you mentioned other places. The Energy Information Administration, U.S. government figures, suggest that oil production actually has been going up every year during President Obama's administration. Oil production -- domestic oil production -- has been going up. Reliance on foreign oil has been going down, and the trends were the opposite under the previous administration. Isn't there already a move toward a greater supply?

Newt Gingrich: There is move toward greater supply, and that move is led by private property despite this administration. Production on government lands has gone down under Obama. Production on private land has gone up despite Obama. If we had a serious effort to maximize production of American oil, we would be the leading oil producer in the world.

Inskeep: Aren't analysts saying, though, we're already on track to becoming a gigantic supplier of oil again. And analysts are saying the reason for high gas prices now is the high price of oil, which largely has to do with tensions in the Middle East?

Gingrich: But they wouldn't have to do with tensions in the Middle East if we were deliberately producing enough oil that we didn't care about the Middle East.

The White House recently released a report stating that the administration has cut net imports by 10 percent, or a million barrels a day.

A recent analysis by the Associated Press found there is "no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump." U.S. domestic oil production is also at the same level it was in March 2003, when gas prices were just $2.10 per gallon, when adjusted for inflation.

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