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Pressing the issue of rising pump prices, Newt Gingrich accused the Obama administration Tuesday of actually wanting higher gas costs, pointing to previous comments that now-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu made that suggested American prices should rise to European levels.
“The high gas prices are a direct result of Obama,” Gingrich said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
Asked by host Charlie Rose whether he believed the president wanted higher gas prices, Gingrich responded:
“Of course… you know that. He has said it himself. Chu, his energy secretary, said in 2008 he wanted gasoline prices to get to the European level, which is $9 or $10 a gallon. Last year, the president said people shouldn’t complain about high gas prices — they ought to buy more efficient cars,” said Gingrich. “The president himself said he wants to get there, he just wants it to be gradual. His policy has been outrageously anti-American [toward] energy.”
In September 2008, Chu told The Wall Street Journal, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” In a follow-up article, ABC News interviewed a scientist who had worked with Chu, Lee Schipper, who estimated that European gas prices were at about $7 to $9 per gallon.
Meanwhile, Gingrich also savaged the president on what he characterized as “unconstitutional” actions.
“Clearly his czars were unconstitutional, clearly his recess appointments — where there was no recess — were unconstitutional … again and again this is a president who routinely only obeys those laws he personally deems fit,” said Gingrich. “I think that his attack on the Catholic is unconstitutional, it’s a violation of the First Amendment.”
The former House speaker also reserved some criticism for fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney, focusing his fire on the former Massachusetts governor while holding it for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
“I think if Santorum wins in Michigan, it’s a big step up for him, and an enormous defeat for Mitt Romney, who put $40 million of his own money in, has run for six years and spent more than all the rest of us,” said Gingrich. “This is Romney’s home turf — he was supposed to have carried it easily.”
In fact, Gingrich took a soft line when asked to describe the difference between himself and Santorum.
“I don’t know, I think the biggest thing that separates us is the degree to which I’m prepared to make a very, very large change,” said Gingrich. “But in a sense, we both represent a much more conservative wing of the party than does Gov. Romney.”