Fargo, North Dakota (CNN) - While President Barack Obama prepared to give a speech in New Hampshire touting domestic energy production, in energy-rich North Dakota Mitt Romney said the president "should be hanging his head" over his energy policies.
"He doesn't get credit for the increase; he instead has tried to slow the growth of oil and gas production in this country, and coal production in this country," Romney told an enthusiastic audience in Fargo. "So far from taking credit, he should be hanging his head and taking a little bit of the blame for what's going on today."
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The GOP candidate spoke to a supportive audience gathered on a frosty factory floor. North Dakota boasts vast natural resources and the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and audience members applauded Romney's call for increased production.
His speech focused heavily on his proposals to expand energy production, including opening federal lands to drilling and easing regulations on a controversial policy known as fracking.
Fracking involves pumping water into rocks to harvest natural gas.
Romney joins his GOP opponent, former Sen. Rick Santorum, in pushing for expanded energy production on the campaign trail. Santorum has brandished a piece of coal during stump speeches to illustrate his desire to expand energy production.
But in North Dakota, where voters will weigh in on the Republican race on March 6, Romney kept his focus on Obama and said he "does not understand energy."
"Today the president is going to be in New Hampshire talking about energy in North Dakota. He's about as far away from North Dakota as he can get and still be in the United States," Romney said. "His idea of course is to be far enough away from the people who know what's really going on right here to maybe try and blow one past folks."
Obama's re-election team defended its "all-of-the-above energy strategy" while criticizing Romney for saying "anything to get elected."
"Mitt Romney's backward-looking energy policy does not meet America's complex energy needs today," campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said in a statement. "His tax plan keeps subsidies for big oil and gas companies making billions in profits. And he has made clear he is not concerned about gas prices."
While greeting supporters on the ropeline, the candidate also weighed in on the kerfuffle he caused after appearing to say he did not agree with a Republican-backed amendment in the Senate that would allow employers to refuse health care coverage they found to be morally objectionable.
The amendment, drafted by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Romney supporter, is an attempt by Senate Republicans to confront head-on a simmering controversy over rules governing religious employers and coverage they are required to provide. The Senate voted to kill the measure Thursday morning.
"I'm in favor of the Blunt amendment," Romney told reporters.
He also alluded to that support earlier in his speech, when he criticized the president's health care policy.
"Obamacare is an attempt by this administration to say, for instance, to the Catholic Church that they have to provide to the employees of, let's say, universities that are in the Catholic Church, they have to provide to them sterilization treatments for free, and contraception, and morning after pills, and that violates the conscience of the church, the conscience of individuals," Romney said. "And fortunately, there's an effort in Washington to stop that, to reverse that."
This is why I can't stand the media! They let these fools spout lies without telling the American people the real truth! I am just stunned at all the lies Romney has told!
So, Obama is not responsible for energy policy, but he is responsible for high gas prices? As usual, Romney's rhetoric doesn't make alot of sense.
@Fair – "the only thing Obama should take credit for is an ever-tightening grip that foreign suppliers have over us"
And if we're a net exporter of oil (which we currently are)??? Then are you all wet (which you are)???
"97% of promising lands have been declared "off limits" – Is that a fact or a massive exaggeration? Also, we can estimate how much oil is in an area. We don't have to pull it out of the ground to know. With the increasing demand from China and India for oil, there is no way we can drill our way out of this problem. The answer is technology. Conservation also helps – every person driving a gas guzzler is part of the problem and has no room to criticize.
Newt thinks he is going to demand $2.50 per gallon gasoline. Oh really? The Republicans are beholden to big oil. Would Newt and the GOP further subsidize the big oil companies?
Sorry, I think the market determines the price of gasoline, not a bunch of windbag repukelicans.
@Snake Oil lies and deceit!! – "Gulf oil production is DOWN
what the hell are you talking about? Drilling is down in the Gulf because of, you know, that spill from last year???
And drilling PERMITS are a lot different than DRILLING.
Romney wants to invest in coal production, because apparently, like the rest of the republicans, forgot that we are in the 21st century.
Well, MItt. If he shouldn't take the credit, then you cannot assign him the blame. Taa-Daa. You didn't think that one through very well there, MItt. You only looked on the bright side, and ignored the flip side. Seems to me like you should know that there are two sides to every coin.
So, the President shouldn't get credit for any of the good stuff, but should get all the blame for the bad stuff, regarding oil consumption? Is that like THIS argument: "The Government doesn't create jobs; the private sector creates jobs." In next breath: "Why hasn't the President created any jobs?". If it weren't so sad, it would be funny.....
Theirs million upon million of farm land not in use today that could produce corn liquior :I mean" Ethonol gas as far in the future one can see. Anybody wont to reduce foriegn oil grab and old Mule and start producing it :gas" on thier farm. Bless.
Since Obama can't take credit tell me what the Republicans have done, other than show up and vote No.
Obama should take credit. Under his watch, gasoline prices have skyrocketed, we are more beholden to the Middle East than ever, and he has wasted over $2 Billion to subsidize California Venture Capitalists under the guise of "green energy".