Gingrich sees gas prices as his ticket to the White House

Herman Cain shot to the top of the GOP presidential race for a time on the strength of one numeral said thrice: 9-9-9. Now, the man Cain endorsed after leaving the race is trying to grab the lead for a third time with his own triple-digit number: $2.50.

Newt Gingrich is not talking taxes with his number, but rather the price of a gallon of gasoline. If his swing through Georgia this week is any evidence, the former House speaker is staking his candidacy not only on a victory in our delegate-rich state come Tuesday. He’s also betting on the idea that he can win here and beyond by taking an increasingly brutal fact of everyday American life and wrapping around it elements of many national and geopolitical challenges we face.

Thus, Gingrich told crowds in Dalton and Rome on Tuesday that $2.50-a-gallon gas is:

  • the result of a goal “to get the United States to a point that we produce enough oil that no American president ever bows to a Saudi king,” as Barack Obama infamously did in April 2009;
  • a crucial element of rebuilding the economy — citing the oil-led boom in North Dakota, where unemployment is at 3.3 percent with thousands of jobs still unfilled;
  • a potential windfall for the Treasury, in royalties from oil (and natural gas) totaling $16 trillion to $18 trillion during “the next generation,” meaning “you could buy back every bond sold to the Chinese, so you could simultaneously not bow to the Chinese or the Saudis.”

In an interview Wednesday at the state Capitol, Gingrich even cast cheaper energy as part of the solution to the housing crisis: “Frankly, lowering the price of gasoline and accelerating economic growth would give people more money to pay their mortgages,” he said. “Five- or six-dollar-a-gallon gasoline is going to put real pressure on families that are at the margin.”

Gingrich said oil experts gave him the figure — which he often pegs between $2 and $2.50 a gallon — as what’s needed to “sustain the capital expenses required” for the deeper and more difficult drilling needed to reach an estimated 1.4 trillion barrels of oil.

Lest you fail to see how $2.50 could become the populist sensation 9-9-9 was, Gingrich has connected the dots for you. He identified Obama’s 9-9-9 plan as “$9.99 a gallon for gasoline,” crediting an unnamed man in Nashville on Monday for making the comparison.

“If you’d like $2.50-a-gallon gas and [energy] independence, you vote for Newt,” Gingrich said at the Dalton rally. “If you want $9-a-gallon gas and dependence on the Saudis, you vote for Obama.”

To it all, add some quintessential Gingrich rhetoric about Obama’s “secretary of anti-energy,” Steven Chu, and “elitists” with “professional amnesia” about how recently gas prices were at $2.50 a gallon or lower who say “that’s just not possible.”

I don’t consider myself an elitist, but I did voice my own doubts in our interview about whether a president could really increase U.S. oil supplies enough to affect the world price of oil. Like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in a recent Republican Governors Association forum, Gingrich pointed to another fuel.

“Take a look at the price of natural gas,” he said, “which has collapsed, from about $8 [per million British thermal units] to about $3, and it’s on the way down to $2.50. And ask yourself, why has that happened? Well, it’s happened because new technology has enabled people on private land to open up huge reserves of natural gas. The government couldn’t stop it. . . . If flooding the market with natural gas works, why would flooding the market with oil not work?”

The only things standing in the way, he argued, are “liberals [who] are in a state of great crisis, because all of a sudden there is going to be an abundance of natural gas, and … they’re desperately trying to find a way to close it down, because it threatens their entire world view.”

Back in 2008, liberals recognized the potency of gas prices: Obama even gave a speech that April at an Indianapolis service station advertising regular unleaded for $3.55 a gallon. (Enterprising folks at the Republican National Committee revisited that station and found the price is now $3.64.)

Back then, “drill, baby, drill!” helped spur John McCain to a late-summer lead in the polls. Then the financial crisis, and his panicky response to it, overwhelmed all else.

If Gingrich is to ride his own gas plan to the top, the ascent has to begin next week. $2.50 or bust.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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161 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

March 1st, 2012
6:19 am

Good analogy: Newt’s $2 gas and Cain’s 9-9-9. As we saw Cain’s plan did not do what he said it would except it would screw the middle class. Newt’s plan…yeah right! Those oil companies won’t sell their gas to anyone but the US, no matter what others would pay? Yeah right!

Flytothemoonlikenewt

March 1st, 2012
6:27 am

Newts still in the race? No kidding.

DeborahinAthens

March 1st, 2012
6:41 am

Newt would rape his grandmother to get elected. He will tell the yahoos anything he thinks that they’re gullible enough to believe. Oil is going up because it went down during the recession because of lower demand. Now we have things ramping up again, so the supply is going down. The Repugs can’t have it both ways. If the economy is thriving, oil will continue to go up. What we have in this country won’t make a bit of difference– especially in the short term. Also, every time we have a geo-political issue such as Iran’s saber rattling, the speculators who increase buying of the call options, run the price up on the Mercantile. Drill, baby, all you want, there is a finite amount of oil and we know this, but continue to live in denial. As to Newt’s yammering about using fracking to get to natural gas, ask the folks in PA whose water is no longer drinkable how that’s working out for them.

Ronnie Raygun

March 1st, 2012
6:49 am

So Newt is proposing to nationalize America’s oil industry? That’s the only way they could be forced to sell American oil in America.
Maybe he should chastise his fellow Republicans for pushing the Keystone XL pipeline which would only INCREASE gas prices in the United States.

Mister.Earl

March 1st, 2012
6:56 am

The President of The United States does not control the price of gas.

Speculators do.

ragnar danneskjold

March 1st, 2012
7:14 am

Gas price will be a good topic for a republican to talk about, and misery index will continue to approach Carter-like levels as the Fed’s loose money policy begins to push prices up. Groceries are already rising, and the new, higher fuel prices will start to ripple though the economy by summer. Don’t foresee this talking point moving the needle for Mr. Newt, however.

ragnar danneskjold

March 1st, 2012
7:16 am

As to small amounts of additional fuel having disproportionate effect on the price of fuels, that is a highly inelastic market. The slightest shortage produces huge price increases, and slightest surplus produces huge price decreases. Newt may be right on the economics.

@@

March 1st, 2012
7:33 am

At least Newt’s thinking about the impact on consumers. Obama? Not so much.

When asked by Congressman Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi about whether or not the DOE sees lowering prices as a priority Chu answered, “No.”

He continued, “the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy. We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

schnirt

Not Blind

March 1st, 2012
7:58 am

Newt is this era’s Nixon. The last thing the country needs is another Tricky Dick.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 1st, 2012
8:04 am

Our President Bush left a legacy of $1.80 gas which Obozo squandered. It isn’t hard to believe that we could bring the price down to Speaker Gingrich’s $2.50 by increasing the supply, eliminating requirements for special blends, and more efficient distribution.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 1st, 2012
8:06 am

“So Newt is proposing to nationalize America’s oil industry?”
—–

No.

Please either pay attention or be quiet while the adults are talking.

carlosgvv

March 1st, 2012
8:07 am

Common sense will tell you Obama wants to be re-elected as much as Gingrich wants to be elected. If there truly was a way to bring gas down to $2.50 a gallon, don’t you think Obama would be doing it? Or, do you think he will lose to Gingrich but still be smiling because he stuck to his “liberal” principles. If so, have you still not learned that politicians will do and say anything to get elected and re-elected?

Don Abernethy

March 1st, 2012
8:12 am

Politicians know that the American voter is the dumbest and most uninformed in the world. They can line their pockets with taxpayer money and never have to worry about it. Gas is just another issue where oil companies pay off the politicians to support high prices and profits at the expense of the average American.

Jay Anderson

March 1st, 2012
8:18 am

Good grief! Are liberals the only ones that read this columnist? What a shame. It will be so much fun to see and hear the squealing sounds of the liberal masses as their socialist leader “tanks” in November. Morons! For every dollar spent on gasoline there is a dollar not spent on other commodities such as food and other necessities. This author needs to step back and take a look at what the democrats are doing to the elderly on weak pensions and SSI.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 1st, 2012
8:22 am

“If there truly was a way to bring gas down to $2.50 a gallon, don’t you think Obama would be doing it?”
——

No. Did you miss Obozo’s energy secretary testifying before Congress? Obozo himself has said he wants higher gas prices.

md

March 1st, 2012
8:28 am

“If flooding the market with natural gas works, why would flooding the market with oil not work?””

Because vehicles burn oil…..not natural gas….at least not in abundance.

Newt has this one wrong…..the “free” market is dictating that oil/gas be shipped to where it is being bought……which is overseas and will remain that way for a very long time.

We take having cars for granted, some even having 2 or more….folks in India and China are just now getting to the point of having 1…….and they are the 2 most populated countries on the planet.

The only way to slow down the cost of gas would be to mandate sales (isolationist?)….seems we may want to speed up that conversion to natural gas, but then that will go up too as the rest of the world plays catch up.

gm

March 1st, 2012
8:35 am

This is the same man who lied on national stage and said he helped bring the Olympics to Atlanta, do any one think other countries would work with us knowing we have elected a 3 times adultry as President? , how can we go around the world and teach ethics and morales when our leader does not have any.

Pull up the picture and you would see Bush arm and arm with the Saude King, whats so amazing you have a lot of hicks in the south who believe President Obama bowed to Saude King, its call culture courtesy, they dont shake hands, but why would any one vote for a idiot like Newt who does not know that, oh I forgot the Georgia conservatives who never been out of south Georgia will.

Herman Cain..

March 1st, 2012
8:35 am

@ Lil’Barry da donkey’s arse.

If they (the government) threw you in a barrell of tiddies, you’d come up sucking a ICK. What a lame piece of excrement.

md

March 1st, 2012
8:37 am

“This is the same man who lied on national stage and said he helped bring the Olympics to Atlanta”

What do you strive to achieve with comments like that? Don’t you know we all sit at some kind of computer and can look up that kind of stuff. I suggest you do that as well and then maybe you can see the error of your ways and won’t look so silly.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 1st, 2012
8:38 am

Jobs and gas prices are the key to this election.

It is clear that the current Disaster-in-Chief doesn’t understand this, which is why he is continuing his polices that do not create long-term economic growth (and therefore, long-term jobs) nor do they do anything to increase the supply of gas (thus reducing prices).

He is in the same place where uber-conservative Republicans are in their primary process: caught between a rock and a hard place by sticking to policies and beliefs that do not win elections, yet please the hard-line fringe that donate money and work the campaigns.

The question will be which group gives in first to allow themselves to see the forest ‘fore the trees – the goal being that you have to get elected first before you can make the changes you think are needed.

Extremism doesn’t get you elected nationally – pragmatism does.

stranger in a strange land

March 1st, 2012
8:38 am

the price of oil always has and always will go up and down according to supply & demand (economics 101). Economic development of 2nd/3rd world nations is a good thing but will continue to put upward pressure on prices for a commodity with such an inelastic demand (as noted by Ragnar). I can undestand and live with an increase in the price of oil in this case since the rising tide of economic develolpment ultimately should benefit everyone – at least in a macro sense. However, the price of oil is going to be tinkered with by government intervention and/or quasi government entities like OPEC. That’s not so good as it artificially controls supply / demand – but is never going to go away. As to the effect on the price of oil due to speculation – which has its place in the market – but speculators simply bet on what they preceive the price of oil (or any other commodity) will be in the future. Supply/demand is a part of this, as well as the OPEC effect – but when the government of the worlds largest user of oil sends signals subtle, or not so subtle, that fossil fuel is in disfavor, or that supply will be controlled/contracted – speculators are going to bet that they price will go up, and voila – the price goes up. When ’speculators’ start receiving contrary signals – the price will go down and the laws of supply and demand will at least begin to take hold again.
Still one of the the best books ever to get a historical perspectiuve is The Prize (D Yeargin)

BW

March 1st, 2012
8:41 am

Yes because the idea surely wouldn’t have been implemented pre-Obama if it were that simple. Look…if this idea is what puts you in the tank for Gingrich then you wanted to vote for him anyway. This idea on its face sounds absurd. Natural gas prices collapsed due to fracking, a new technology, enabling a dramatic increase in the amount of recoverable natural gas…not opening new lands. As Gingrich acknowledges if you let gas fall below $2.50 most of the increased drilling for the deeper oil that we are currently undertaking becomes economically infeasible. The only way to decrease the cost at the pump tomorrow is price controls or nationalization of the oil industry. We saw how price controls worked under Nixon. Nationalizing the oil industry with 2% of the world’s daily oil supply and consumption of 20% of the daily world supply would require a draconic conservation effort. There is no way to lower the price immediately except reining in speculation, which is adding to the cost of gasoline. However with world events, there is no incentive for investors to be patriotic. Long term, energy conservation, energy diversification, and new technology are the only way to ensure stable, low cost energy.

gm

March 1st, 2012
8:53 am

md

I also sit at the comptuer and was there during the Olympics, Andy Young and Bill Paine brought the games to Atlanta, no lying Newt do your home work.

md

March 1st, 2012
9:04 am

And thats fine gm……now show us where he ever said he brought the Olympics to Atl.

I’ve seen plenty of comments about helping with funding and helping to make them successful (which he did), but have yet to see anything where he said he brought the games to Atl.

Maybe you can back up what you say since you are sitting at the computer………

Joe The Plumber Too

March 1st, 2012
9:24 am

gm just watches urkles speeches and trys to post what he believes is being said, problem is he doesn’t understand the big words.

Question Man

March 1st, 2012
9:31 am

Was Newt among the crowd who claimed that oil revenues would pay for the Iraq War?

jconservative

March 1st, 2012
9:36 am

Eleven states have had primaries or caucuses and Gingrich has won one. That is not a path to the White House.

But back to Newt. Newt is gonna get the price of oil so low that gas will be at $2.50 a gallon and, at the same time, he will also bomb Iran and remove their oil, the number 2 OPEC producer and 11% of the world’s reserves, from the world market.

Please!

I believe we are all still waiting for the $20 a barrel oil Vice President Cheney promised when we invaded Iraq. Should be here any day now that the war is won and Iraq is enjoying the Bush Era of Democracy, Peace and Prosperity.

Edward

March 1st, 2012
9:38 am

Anybody that believes anything out of Newt’s mouth is just a big of a fool as Newt. Newt is a pathetic and pathological liar who preys upon the gullible.

clyde

March 1st, 2012
9:40 am

The price of gasoline seems to me to have transcended the law of supply and demand.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 1st, 2012
9:43 am

“Was Newt among the crowd who claimed that oil revenues would pay for the Iraq War?”

Oh Holy Crap! :roll:

It would be nice if people would actually FOCUS on the topic at hand sometime.

The question really boils down to “Can the government (or President) truly control gas prices?”

The answer is: In certain circumstances – yes. Policies to increase domestic drilling will ultimately increase supply, which will lower prices. EPA regulations which demand certain blends and additives can be curtailed. Boutique blends demanded by states could be stopped at the Federal level.

Will all these actions get us to $2.50 per gallon gas? Probably, but not for another 10-12 years, which means we should have started this a decade ago. However, doing nothing to address these issues will ensure that our gas prices will continue to go up, and our dependency on foreign oil to increase as well.

DannyX

March 1st, 2012
9:43 am

the result of a goal “to get the United States to a point that we produce enough oil that no American president ever plants a big fat kiss on the lips of a Saudi king, and then walk hand in hand together like lovers” as George W Bush infamously did…

Disgusting.

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
9:44 am

Obama ran on shutting down Gitmo, ending the wars, uniting the Middle East and bringing down unemployment.

How did that work out?

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
9:45 am

“Newt would rape his grandmother to get elected.”

No, you’re thinking of Bill Clinton.

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
9:45 am

DannyX

Obama bowed to the Saudi King.

What do you think of that?

Tea Party Hobbit

March 1st, 2012
9:46 am

Sad news coming in that Andrew Breitbart has died at 43…

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
9:47 am

“Back then, “drill, baby, drill!” helped spur John McCain to a late-summer lead in the polls. Then the financial crisis, and his panicky response to it, overwhelmed all else.”

Had Mac not uttered those now famous words “I don’t know anything about the economy” he’d have been in the White House.

Obama beat Mac by 10 million votes. Think about it. There were about 20-30 million conservatives who sat home.

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
9:48 am

Well, looks like Bookman is all upset over a Limbaugh comment about some slut.

Jefferson

March 1st, 2012
9:59 am

A petty person will use something that hurts most americans to futher their agenda, when they know they can’t change the situation. Gas is high because of demand, not supply. The oil producers have consumers where they want them, short of regulation little can be done other than buying less. Some folks have few choices.

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
10:06 am

“A petty person will use something that hurts most americans to futher their agenda, when they know they can’t change the situation.”

You mean like not drilling here to bring down oil prices? See: Obama

DannyX

March 1st, 2012
10:33 am

“You mean like not drilling here to bring down oil prices? See: Obama”

Yesterday from Bloomberg.com- “The U.S. exported more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than it imported in 2011 for the first time since 1949, the Energy Department said.

Shipments abroad of petroleum products exceeded imports by 439,000 barrels a day, the department said today in the Petroleum Supply Monthly report. In 2010, daily net imports averaged 269,000 barrels. U.S. refiners exported record amounts of gasoline, heating oil and diesel to meet higher global fuel demand while U.S. fuel consumption sank. ”

You do know that US oil production is up since Obama took office, don’t you Do What?????

Robert

March 1st, 2012
10:35 am

Wow, this guy is STILL around running for president???? Go figure…….

DannyX

March 1st, 2012
10:44 am

Us crude oil production, annual-thousand barrels

2005 1,890,106
2006 1,862,259
2007 1,848,450
2008 1,811,817
2009 1,956,596
2010 1,998,130

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 1st, 2012
10:52 am

“The U.S. exported more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than it imported in 2011 for the first time since 1949, the Energy Department said.”

And while that is a good thing for our trade deficit, DannyX, it only has a little to do with gas prices here.

“U.S. refiners exported record amounts of gasoline, heating oil and diesel to meet higher global fuel demand while U.S. fuel consumption sank.”

Care to guess why our consumption sank, DannyX?

“You do know that US oil production is up since Obama took office, don’t you?”

Oil production is up on PRIVATE lands, DannyX, but his down about 70% on publicly-controlled lands, which is what the government directly controls, so this administration really isn’t doing much about increasing oil exploration, is it?

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
10:57 am

“You do know that US oil production is up since Obama took office, don’t you Do What?????”

You do know that gas is at $4/gall don’t you?

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
10:58 am

Tiberius – Your lightning rod of hate!

You and I have found common ground.

md

March 1st, 2012
11:02 am

“Gas is high because of demand, not supply. ”

Huh?

It is a two sided equation……..yes, demand has an effect……yet so does supply. And the point is that the supply COULD be much higher than it is even if it is up.

Becky

March 1st, 2012
11:02 am

We are women, we remember, and we vote. The GOP will be shown the door.

Dekalb Comments

March 1st, 2012
11:08 am

I see no path to the nomination, let alone the White House for Leroy. His shrill, empty voice will not land him @ 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Do what??????

March 1st, 2012
11:08 am

“We are women, we remember, and we vote. The GOP will be shown the door.”

Right.

DannyX

March 1st, 2012
11:18 am

Oil production in the US is at an 8 year high, even with lower demand we still have rising gas prices.

More than two-thirds of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico and more than half of onshore leases on federal lands are sitting unused.

Our production has increased, places like Saudi Arabia have lowered their production.

Supply and demand is manipulated to keep prices high.