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Obama Defends Energy Policy Against Attacks on Gas Prices

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- President Obama on Thursday defended his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy amid surging gas prices and criticism he turned down development of the Keystone oil pipeline by blaming his Republican rivals for trying to score political points by talking about the pain at the pump.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices. What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade,” the president told students at the University of Miami.

Admitting that rising gas prices are hurting Americans’ wallets, the president argued that his administration is not to blame for the high cost of oil.

“In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50% for the first time in thirty years.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last sixteen years.  Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -- and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it,” he said.

While Republican lawmakers and the GOP presidential candidates have blasted Obama’s energy policy in recent days, the president said they are trying to exploit the spike in gas prices for political purposes.  

“Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more, and they’re licking their chops?  And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas,” Obama said.  

In 2008, it should be noted, then-candidate Obama railed against the specter of $3 a gallon gas under President Bush, citing examples from people who reportedly had to quit their jobs because they couldn't afford to fill their tanks.

The president on Thursday urged the nation not to be fooled by the Republican call for increased drilling, saying it’s simply “a bumper sticker.”  

“It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election,” he said.

Instead, the president touted his wide-ranging strategy, which includes oil, gas, wind, solar and nuclear power, as the “only real solution” to solve the nation’s energy challenges.

While the president called for an end to oil and gas subsidies and vowed not to walk away from the promise of clean energy, he did not unveil any new initiatives Thursday.

In the short-term, Obama argued there are “no quick fixes” to bring down the price of gas. “There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.  But while we don’t have a silver bullet, what we do have in this country are limitless sources of energy, and a boundless supply of ingenuity and imagination that we can put to work developing that energy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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