Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Barack Obama was in Wayne, Pa., on Saturday, where he highlighted energy costs and the need for new energy policy in a town hall meeting.

“It isn’t an accident that gas prices are this high,” the presumptive Democratic nominee told the crowd. “It’s because Washington failed to deal with the challenge of alternative energy when it had the chance. Instead we’ve had an energy policy that’s been written by and for the big oil and gas companies.”

Obama impugned George Bush and previous administrations for doing little to wean the country off oil: “Nothing has changed. And when the next election rolls around, we’re even more dependent on foreign oil, our planet is in even greater peril, and the price of gas is even higher.”

In a speech this morning in Flint, Mich., Obama outlined plans to make America more competitive in the global economy — including making the country more energy independent, and creating new manufacturing jobs in emerging energy, technology, and efficiency sectors. In his address, he promised to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and gas and create at least 5 million new “green jobs.” He touted his plans to invest $150 billion over 10 years to create second-generation biofuels, develop other renewable energy sources, and transition to a digital electricity grid. He also promised to create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard and extend the Production Tax Credit, actions that he says will help create new jobs.

Since Flint is an auto-industry town, Obama also pitched his plans to pump up the automotive sector. The candidate promised to invest in programs to retrain the manufacturing workforce for jobs that produce green technologies, and create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to help the domestic auto industry develop 21st century manufacturing strategies.