(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 CNNPolitics.com 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.