GOP candidates slam Obama for Keystone decision
January 18th, 2012
03:12 PM ET
2 years ago

GOP candidates slam Obama for Keystone decision

(CNN) - Candidates vying for the 2012 GOP nomination quickly condemned President Barack Obama as a job killer after news reports suggested the White House was planning to oppose construction of the Keystone oil sands pipeline.

A Democratic source briefed on the matter told CNN Wednesday the Obama Administration was preparing to announce their opposition to the project, which has divided politicians and voters.

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Newt Gingrich, speaking in Warrenville, South Carolina, said the decision was "stunningly stupid."

"The president has apparently vetoed the Keystone Pipeline," Gingrich said. "Look, let me be honest, this is a stunningly stupid thing to do."

Gingrich's line got a standing ovation from the crowd gathered for the campaign rally.

The former House speaker said the move would put a damper on American jobs creation.

"These people are so out of touch with reality it's as if they were governing Mars," Gingrich said. "Stupidity number one – we need the jobs. Maybe when they are unemployed in November they'll figure out that jobs matter."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also weighed in, releasing a statement painting the president's move as purely political.

"President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is as shocking as it is revealing," Romney said. "It shows a President who once again has put politics ahead of sound policy. If Americans want to understand why unemployment in the United States has been stuck above 8 percent for the longest stretch since the Great Depression, decisions like this one are the place to begin."

Romney said the White House had caved to interests on the political left.

"He seems to have confused the national interest with his own interest in pleasing the environmentalists in his political base," Romney said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested at an event in Greer, South Carolina, that Americans would be outraged by the decision.

"This Canadian oil, there is a possibility we could lose it to China with that decision," Perry said. "I hope Americans will really become unhinged at that decision because it is a really bad decision for our country for energy and it sends a horrible message at a time when we are heading towards four or five dollar oil – excuse me – four or five dollar gasoline."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also responded, saying at a town hall in Spartanburg that the president was siding with "extreme environmentalists."

"When I become president next year in January, one of the first things I will do is sign an order to build the Keystone pipeline, because it needs to be done," he said.

Santorum linked the shift to an increase in supply due to a policy that encourages oil shale mining in Pennsylvania.

"Supply works," he said. "If you increase supply–believe it or not–the price does go down, unlike what the president believes. He believes the only way you solve an energy problem is to increase demand to get you to put more air in your tires. No. You can actually reduce price by providing more."

The Keystone pipeline in a proposed 1,700 mile conduit for crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Opponents worry the line could leak, but supporters argue it would create much-needed American jobs.

– CNN's Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Energy • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    All of these same arguments were presented by conservatives when the Alaska Pipeline was being debated. It would lower energy costs. It would create jobs. We wil pay more if we don't Cut dependence on foreign oil. Most of the promises about lower prices had some degree of truth, but not much. There was more money to be made selling on the global market. For those of you to young to know, here is what happened.

    Before construction had begun, the world began experiencing "oil shortages," which naturally sent oil prices through the roof. The "shortages" were a result of OPEC countries reducing their output and letting the forces of supply and demand take effect. It is was quite remarkable how the price went up when the pipeline looked like it would be approved, and how the prices would drop when the pipeline seemed doomed.

    After much wrangling back and forth, the pipeline was finally under construction. Prices of gas and oil continued to rise because of ongong "oil shortages," which became so severe that the US government implemented gasoline rationing. You could buy gasoline every other day. Lines of cars at gas stations used to wrap around the block and the next block besides.

    The US producers said they had to raise their US domestic prices to pay for the cost of constructing the pipeline. They promised that the increases were only temporary, and that prices would return to normal once it was completed, which they never did. They claimed high debts so they raised prices some more.. So, when people draw comparisons to the Alasks Pipelie in support of the pipeline, most of them do not know what they are talking about.

    January 18, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Ah...I See.

    I thought we've been over this? Firstly, it would NOT lower gas costs. If you think different, I heavily urge you to research gas prices and how any fluctuation, whether affected by global or national happenings, shows a steady upward trend. It has never dropper lower than it's previous rate for long and when it raises, it's WAY higher, then settles back down to above where it was initially. Record earnings nearly every fiscal period with no end in sight. Secondly, the jobs that would be created would largely be Canadian. There would be temporary construction jobs throughout the states for the pipeline itself but after it's built, there will only be a few hundred, maybe a couple thousand on either side of the pipe with the occasional maintanence in between. For those few thousand jobs (this is a generous estimation from actual researchable projections), we get a huge pipe that could destroy our ecosystem (Gulf of Mexico, in your backyard!) and little benefit to our economy since this whole operation is, again, largely Canadian based. We needn't mention the effect of their sand pits. If they wanna destroy their environment, that's on them, yet we all share the same air and atmosphere, both of which would suffer from this project. Finally, let's pretend Earth was truly capable of shielding itself from the damage we Humans do and the gas rates and jobs production rates didn't matter. This is an old old old old old technology. Like the fools who talk about "clean coal". Let's get serious. Clean coal doesn't exist. We may be better at wielding it for our purpose but it's just as nasty as oil and other "let's burn this for energy" concepts. Except for maybe the few trash burning plants, although management of garbage is a different story. We SHOULD be gearing towards wind, solar, and hydro plants. These renewable sources do near zero damage to our environment and if properly invested in, would generate plenty of steady electricity. Unfortunately, it doesn't make much money cuz there's no refining involved so no company cares to invest heavily as the profit isn't there. My most recent bill from my electric company told me about 12% of the electricity I used was from a renewable source. the rest was bought or burned. Tragic. We get one planet and one sun but we'll be done killing ourselves long before the sun exploding is a problem for humans. I guess the piepline doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things then huh? :P

    January 18, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. mario

    This pipeline is a kind of crap, evn canadian blast harper for his bs

    January 18, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Mike from Calgary

    Obama hasn't killed the pipeline that would pump synthetic crude, energy security, dollars, and jobs (construction, maintenance, refinery jobs) and other spinoffs into the US economy. He has delayed the project so that it can be done in a prudent way that minimizes environmntal costs and maximizes economic benfits.

    China wants the oil but the US has first dibs.

    As for the dirty oil notion, oils sands technology cleanses oil sands (not unlike those beach sands along the Gulf of Mexico that were contaminated by the BP Oil Gusher). The technology developed here in Alberta can be used and is used to cleanse oil contaminated soils (eg in Louisiana beaches) for reclamation and to separate out oil for commercial purposes. Sound like a win-win proposition ... as long as the synthetic crude can be transported safely. I believe the Nebraska and federal authorities wanted to take special care to avoid spills and to avoid environmentally sensitive areas. That takes time to engineer, and that is what Obama wants done. Canada may be frustrated by the delay, and the Chinese want this oil and the construction and refining and other petro-chemical industry spinoffs (especially fuels, plastics, and pharmeceuticals) but Canada would prefer to supply its North American ally.

    If the pipeline is worth building, take the time to ROUTE IT WISELY AND TO BUILD IT RIGHT!

    Obama doing just that ... and Americans deserve no less. Boehner's posturing is specious, silly and stupid! What was he thinking .... or perhaps smoking?

    January 18, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    If President Obama approved the pipeline, these candidates would have criticized him for approving it. The current field of republican candidates is the worst field of candidates I have ever seen.

    January 18, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Mike from Calgary

    Gingrich is the best the Republicans have to offer .... how can he and every other Republican be so ill informed and ignorant! The Republicans silly stance is a gift to the Democrats!

    January 18, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. grrace

    The Keystone Pipeline would have created few jobs, and so what? There are a lot of industries that make jobs, but I'm not into supporting things like child trafficking jobs, or dirty polluting damaging jobs, or animal cruelty jobs. Get my drift? Not all jobs are "good" jobs, and that includes the KeyStone Pipeline which does NOTHING to improve our energy policy or bring down gas prices, or bring in tax revenue. Nothing. DON'T BE A STOOGE! Therefore, I APPLAUD the President's decision.

    January 18, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    For all you "Drill baby drill" nuts, please don't ignore the fact the US is setting producing more home-grown energy that it has in a while and is a net energy exporter right now.

    January 18, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Ed DFWTX

    Repubs are playing politics as usual. The amount of jobs the Repubs are stating thiswould create are very over exaggerated. The Repubs for political points would much rather ram this pipeline thorugh wihtout any environmental study. I guess they don't care about the world they are leaving their children. Obama 2012!

    January 18, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Independent Voters

    Who want a pipeline running through they neighborhood that would hurt the american enviromental.

    January 18, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Fed Up with this Greed Over People Party

    I dont understand people calling this a job killing decision, it is a pipeline not a factory at best there will be jobs until it is built then what I guess there be some maintenance jobs. If you think this oil will decrease our dependence on foreign oil think again, oil is an intenationally traded commodity sure to be exported. Our president is not against this pipeline he is just asking for more time to completely study the environmental and jobs impact which this do nothing GOPP congress is refusing to give it to him. There you go you force a decision and you got one GOPP.

    January 18, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. gt

    obama to american workers.... let them eat cake....

    January 18, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. king

    These repubs and their big oil companies, will stop at any thing not to bring in green energy. Lesson folks we are slowly, killing mother earth. What else can mother earth throw at us to let understand this.

    January 18, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Jerry

    This president is the ultimate liar. He claims he wants to create jobs and grow the economy. Here's a wonderful opportunity to practice what he has been preaching. Here is an opportunity to create better than shovel-ready jobs (real) and his administration stops everything on its tracks. Mainly because he really can not claim full responsibility for jobs that the pipeline will create.

    Of course his Spiked Cool Aid drinking supporters can and will not call him on the carpet or are unable to see thorough the smoke and mirrors. Most of the president's supporters don't need jobs anyway. Most of them are either depending on the "dole" or on jobs with this clueless/unpatriotic administration.

    America, PLEASE remember 2012. I ask you, who really lies about creating jobs and improving the economy!? Hint, hint. It's NOT our Hipocrite-in-Chief. Can't blame it on Bush any longer!!!

    January 18, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Joi Gibson

    I believe the term "stunningly stupid" is over the top and very disrespectful. Just say you disagree, as usual. I am really tired of the disrespect for this president coming from Republican presidential candidates.

    January 18, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. FLIndpendent

    "The pipeline would be a step toward energy independence and would mean jobs for Americans"

    ----------

    How will it be a step toward energy independence when, most likely, the oil will be sold on the open market as it is now. Unless there is a stipulation set that the US gets a certain percentage of that oil I don't see how we can assume it will be any benefit to us. It certainly will not lower gas prices either.

    January 18, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. ShawnDH

    Thank You President Obama! It's so refreshing to have a president who stands up for what's right vs. the oil sucking vampires and their henchmen in Congress. People who think this would benefit Americans have zero concept of how the worldwide oil market works. None at all. They are morons.

    January 18, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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