During the second presidential debate, Barack Obama hit back at Mitt Romney's claim that the president is to blame for high gas prices, saying that Romney would cause a "mess" if elected.
"It's conceivable that Governor Romney can bring down gas prices, because if Governor Romney is elected, we might be back in that same mess," Obama said.
HuffPost's Zach Carter reported on the exchange:
Mitt Romney just attacked President Barack Obama for failing to drill for oil on federal land, indicating that the lack of drilling was responsible for short-term increases in gas prices. That led to a heated back-and-forth between the two candidates.
But drilling has nothing to do with near-term gas prices. Drilling takes years to generate new oil supply, which could potentially drive down gas prices. What's more, new drilling does not necessarily result in lower prices at home -- the global oil market is vast, and the new supply from drilling is distributed worldwide, resulting in a very limited impact on overall gas prices.
A more effective attack on Obama would have been to criticize him for failing to crack down effectively on Wall Street speculation in the oil markets, which many studies, including a recent Federal Reserve study, believe wildly exacerbates swings in energy prices.
Romney and Obama also sparred over coal, with Romney saying he will defend jobs in coal country.
"This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal," Romney said, referring to Obama.
Obama brought up an episode from Romney's tenure as the governor of Massachusetts, in which Romney stood in front of a coal power plant and said, "This plant kills."
"And now suddenly you're a big champion of coal," Obama said.