Newt Gingrich says he has the power to lower gas prices. Image: Donkey Hotey/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Former House Speaker and former frontrunner for the Republican nomination Newt Gingrich is preparing to raise his showing at Super Tuesday this week with claims that he can lower the price of gasoline at the nation’s pumps. His new plan defies most experts, who say oil prices are controlled by the overseas markets and other factors beyond the control of the U.S. President.

Third of four in polls

Gingrich is now number three in the polls among the four men still slugging it out for the Republican nomination, followed only by Ron Paul. Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently put his support behind the most-consistent frontrunner, Mitt Romney. As Romney and Rick Santorum take turns challenging each other for the top spot, Gingrich is changing his tack.

Newt has a plan

Gingrich said Monday on CNBC:

“There’s a very strong positive reaction to the idea of having American energy independence using federal land and offshore to produce enough oil to get the price of gasoline down below $2.50.”

Obviously, many Americans will find that prospect appealing as gas prices tip the $5 a gallon mark in some areas. But can Gingrich actually make that happen if elected?

The former speaker says he has a plan and implies that the current problem is a result of the nation’s energy policy:

“The plan I’ve outlined is hitting a nerve. Frankly, I think the impact of our energy policy has been very dramatic in the last week.”

Fuel prices not controlled by President

Most analysts agree that the cost of fuel is far more dependent on foreign markets and political unrest in the Middle East. More than 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is in the cost of the crude oil it was refined from. The U.S. does not have the oil reserves to produce the fuel needed to keep our nation mobile.

Romney challenged to debate

Gingrich also challenged frontrunner Mitt Romney to a debate over the energy policy and fuel prices. He also accused Romney of ducking debates and relying on his massive financial backing.

Gingrich said Monday on Fox and Friends:

“I don’t think that Romney can just hide behind millions of dollars of paid ads — he’s got to come out in the open. I don’t think the public is going to tolerate somebody like Romney raising all of his money on Wall Street and then turning around and saying he’s not going to debate. We owe it to the American people to continue having a series of opportunities that are unedited and aren’t just decided by big money.”

Re-airing ads blaming Obama

Meanwhile, as Super Tuesday approaches, Gingrich is re-airing his campaign ad that chides President Obama over his energy policy. The ads will air in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, three Southern states that are holding primaries on so-called Super Tuesday this week.

“Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, gas prices have doubled,” the ad’s narrator says, implying the President was responsible. The ad ignores the various regime shifts in the Middle East as well as the financial crisis in Europe, which occurred while Mr. Obama has been in office.


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The Hill

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