Posted at 09:04 AM ET, 04/17/2012
The Washington Post
By Greg Sargent
Despite recent signs that gas prices may be about to fall, the Obama team harbors very real fears that pain at the pump could very well deprive him of credit for the recovery. It could impose additional financial hardships on swing voters who might otherwise be inclined to accept the premise that things are improving.
So today, the White House will unveil a new proposal designed to reframe the debate. The Associated Press reports:
Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.
The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.
Details in the link. The move seems like an effort to take hold of a gas-prices narrative that has mostly eluded the White House’s control. Previously, Obama and Dems had sought to deflect public anger over high gas prices by highlighting GOP protection of oil industry subsidies; by pointing out that Big Oil interests are pumping big money into ads attacking them; and by picking a sustained fight with the oil billionaire Koch brothers.