Obama jabs at Gingrich's "phony" gas price promise

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the Daimler Trucks North America Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mount Holly, N.C., Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Barack Obama
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

(CBS News) President Obama's visit to Mt. Holly, North Carolina on Wednesday to discuss energy policy and the economy was technically not a campaign stop, but he didn't shy away from adding some politically-tinged remarks during his taxpayer-sponsored visit.

"The next time you hear some politician trotting out some three-point plan for $2 gas, you let 'em know, we know better," Mr. Obama said, seemingly referencing Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's pitch to bring gas prices down to $2.50 if he becomes president. "Tell 'em we're tired of hearing phony, election year promises that never come about."

Mr. Obama toured the Daimler Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant, where he reiterated his support for an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy. He commended the plant for building trucks that use less oil, remarking that while domestic oil production should be increased, "we're not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices."

Mr. Obama announced an initiative to make it easier for towns and cities to build fueling stations for cars that run on electricity, biofuels or natural gas. The initiative would also give tax breaks to families that buy those cars or companies that buy alternative-fuel trucks.

At left: President Obama enjoyed his introduction from Daimler employee Juan Smith so much that he quipped that Smith was starting to get "The Spirit" during the introduction, adding, "Can I hear an Amen?"

"We're going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars," he said.

Mr. Obama has taken heat from Gingrich and other Republicans over rising gas prices. The former House speaker, who is continuing his campaign despite winning just two primary victories so far, says his administration would aim to bring gas prices down to $2.50.

While Mr. Obama's trip today was official business, North Carolina is likely to be a pivotal state in the general election. Mr. Obama won the state narrowly in 2008, and his re-election team was busy registering voters there over the weekend.