GOP candidates slam Obama for Keystone decision
January 18th, 2012
03:12 PM ET
6 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.

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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.

Also see:

Christie to Romney: release tax info 'sooner rather than later'

Perry defends controversial comment on Turkey

Obama campaign makes first moves toward major ad buys

Romney ahead in Ohio; neck and neck with Obama in match-up

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

    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."


    Remember a few months ago when they were slamming him for the rate being over 9%? Now it is 8%.
    Funny how they don't acknowledge that the rate is going down steadily...

    January 18, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Running an oil pipeline over an aquifer that provides fresh water for most of the midwest is irresponsible. Good on the President for stopping this atrocity. Now let's invest in cleaner energy, why don't we?

    January 18, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Oy

    These people are so disingenuous. The pipeline would have created TEMPORARY jobs, at best, and not nearly as many as they claim.
    President Obama did the right thing. One does not need to be a "tree hugger" to understand that the environment is important. I love how he says "environmentalists" like it's a dirty word.

    January 18, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Inrealityhere

    Of course it could leak and a nuclear power plant could meltdown, fracking could damage the water supply, coal mines can cave in, wind and solar power are not cost effective, hmmm...I vote for the pipeline.

    January 18, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Tex71

    See that lake in the photo? It's not a lake. It's Keystone Tar. That could be your backyard if the pipeline goes through. Can you imagine the smell? Or we could build wind turbines providing more energy, for the same money. More jobs, never runs out. The only downside is that a few really wealthy investors would have to pay their financial advisors to find another source of income.

    January 18, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. GonzoinHouston

    I disagree with the President on this one. I think the pipeline should be built and can be built safely. Unfortunately, both sides have turned this into a political football.

    January 18, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    If I were a Republican candidate I wou;ld be running commericals pointing out this insanity, along with interviews from people who lost their jobs when Obama shut down the Gulf and his infamous statement to make electric rates sky rocket. At the end of the commercial would be a full screen display of the current gasoline price, $3.50/gallon.

    Obama stupidity at its finest and how it is hurting everybody, every day at the pumps and keeping more Americans unemployed.

    January 18, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Bill, NY

    The GOP is totally incapable of creating jobs without destroying the environment. If we allow the environment to be destroyed today, there will be(at this point) no natural resources for future generations. That means no drinkable water, no way to grow crops, no nothing. This pipeline has the potential to be a major environmental disaster. I would be willing to bet that there are no disaster recovery plans if there is a rupture or terror attack on this pipeline. Just look around at the mess we have already created, that should tell even the most dim witted of us something.

    January 18, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. grrace

    I had been so so sad when I first heard about the Keystone Pipeline. I thought it was pretty much a done deal and there was no way to fight against powerful oil companies. Today my faith is restored! America will not be the stooge, the baffoon, the poor investor, the sell out of it's own people afterall. The Keystone Canadian pipeling was such a pathetically stupid idea, I'm surprised serious men, or serious American business men would even consider it. The Pipeline was only to expand the portfolia for CANADA. The whole point of going to the GULF was to avoid paying taxes(free trade zone) to the U.S. , while the public suffers all the risk. And, the oil isn't sold to the U.S. either. Stupid, stupid, stupid, Keystone CONs & hucksters.

    January 18, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Michael Wilson

    Repuglicans are calling President Obama a job killer! This has to be a joke! Because CNN and other major news organizations pander to the right with little or no coverage of jobs gained or saved by the stimulus program, we get exhaustive coverage of talking points but no substance. America knows, even though the news media has taken their eye off the ball, President Obama tried to pass legislation, to get more teachers, firemen, policeman, military and construction workers hired. The "repuglicans" blocked these initiatives! CNN, where is this story! Is the only thing you're interested in is talking points, controversy and pandering to the right. Most of the time I forget you are not FOX news!

    January 18, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. The LONE OKIE

    Some landowners don't want it, raparian rights aside, too much land grabbing going on by the robber baronns.

    January 18, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Woman In California

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

    Such disrespect is truly pathetic. Everyone knows the people in SC love this kind of racist tone – but there are still 47 other states to go (most of which won't appreciate this kind of language). Gingrich knows he has no chance whatsoever at the nomination and he is just "having fun" doing what he likes to do most–stir up the base.

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

    And just who are you trying to please (I can't be human w/o saying something stupid)? Why don't you do us all a favor and RELEASE YOUR FULL TAX RETURNS FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS? Until then shut up or go buy another pair of those "I'm FINALLY ready to work jeans".

    January 18, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Gurgi

    They rerouted the pipeline to go around the aquifer. The unemployment rate will go up this month when all the seasonal jobs are lost again and the rate will be back at 9%. This pipeline will have some jobs. I only agree with what obama is doing if he is stipulating either a percentage of profits come to america or a percentage of the oil comes to america, rather than being traded on the open market.

    January 18, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. callmecrazy

    I'm a full supporter of Obama, but in this case I think he is wrong. The pipeline would be a step toward energy independence and would mean jobs for Americans. If it isn't environmentally friendly, then fix it. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    January 18, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. tom clements

    Forget the oil bring me my food stamps

    January 18, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |

    NO!!! We still haven't recovered from the BP mess and these fools are talking about a pipeline right thru the middle of the country. MORONS!!!

    January 18, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    LOL! President Obama just laid the perfect trap. The GOBP deathcult was ready to go to the mat over less than 10,000 jobs. Now all the President has to do is remind voters how the same GOBP deathcult has refused to act on legislation to assist in the creation of far more jobs.

    January 18, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Ted van Tol

    to truth and nothing but the truth, lies and nothing but lies.
    Do you ever look in the mirror? You wil not see the truth but just hate and fear.

    January 18, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    read the CNN article and find out how many jobs this REALLY will crete for the US. Canada makes out well though and of course the GOP will slam him over it. If he agreed with it I bet they would find a reason to slam hinm over it anyway.

    January 18, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Dr Knowitall

    @Michael Wilson – Are you crazy ?
    Obama got every ounce of Stimulus he wanted in his first attempt. He squandered it !

    January 18, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Stephen in VA

    When many of the stimulus-related jobs proved only temporary, Republicans scorned the President. Now they're scorning him again because he rejected a proposal to push a pipeline across Native American land for 10K temporary jobs for a Canadian company? That's stupid, Mr. Gingrich. Besides, this trap was the one Republicans insisted upon when they only passed the bill for 2 months, remember? They made their beds, and now they're too stupid to remember that.

    January 18, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Pipelines have been built for a long time. During the Second World War Pipelines were built to ensure energy for the War Effort and prevent energy from being interrupted by the enemy. Sometimes accidents happen. Not sure if the pipeline need to be built or not but it probably will sometime and no one will remember it.

    January 18, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    Even some republicans, from states that would bear the environmental consequences don't want it. Good try GOP. Ain't gonna work

    January 18, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Irma in north Carolina

    Well a person knew the republicans would slam the president on this desecion, It just gives all the fox people to throw out their comments. They need to go and comment on fox news about this.

    January 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Dr Knowitall

    "The pipeline would have created TEMPORARY jobs"
    Construction projects not being paid for by the taxpayer does not make temporary jobs. Thats how an economy works. Oil and Gas prices would become less volitile, maybe even decline = more consumer confidence, more money in the pocket of the average person = more nights out, more new clothes. = more new jobs for everyone.

    January 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
1 2