Pres. Obama unleashes on Republican energy policy

US President Barack Obama speaks on energy and the economy following a tour of the Industrial Assessment Center at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, on February 23, 2012. The center teaches students about industrial energy efficiency as they help small and mid-sized companies reduce energy costs.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

CORAL GABLES, Florida - With rising gasoline prices posing a threat to his bid for re-election, President Obama wants Americans to understand "there is no silver bullet" to quickly produce more gasoline and make it less costly at the pump - no matter what Republicans say.

"It's the easiest thing in the world make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices," said the president in a swipe at Republicans, including those seeking to unseat him in November.

Addressing a predominantly student audience at the University of Miami campus here, Mr. Obama cited a recent news report from Politico that portrayed Republicans as gleeful that gasoline prices are soaring 8 months before the presidential election.

"Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops. That's a quote," he said, quoting from the Politico story.

Clearly finding it easy to believe the report, President Obama said, "Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically."

He's said he's sure Republicans are "dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas."

Step one is to drill and step two is to drill," said the president, seeking to ridicule the GOP energy strategy. "And then step three is to keep drilling."

"Well, the American people aren't stupid," said Mr. Obama. "They know that's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling."

He called the drill, drill, drill approach nothing more than "a bumper sticker" and "not a strategy to solve our energy challenge."

He portrayed Republicans as adopting "a strategy to get politicians through an election."

"There are no quick fixes to this problem," the president said. "We can't just drill our way to lower gas prices."

Pres. Obama used his speech to reaffirm his commitment to what he calls his "all-of-the-above strategy" to develop every available source of American energy.

More production of oil and gas are part of his energy strategy, "but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more," he said to an outburst of applause.

"We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks; in our buildings and plants. That's the strategy we're pursuing, and that's the only real solution to this challenge. "

The president is also demanding an end to the $4-billion a year government tax subsidies to the big oil companies.

"It's outrageous. It's inexcusable," he said. "And every politician who's been fighting to keep these subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money. Especially at a time like this. "

Finding it a worthwhile target, Mr. Obama said "it's time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's never been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. "

He again called on Congress to renew the clean energy tax credits that "will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil. "

But Republicans were quick to pounce back citing the doubling of gasoline prices over the past 3 years.

"From his drilling moratorium to his denial of the Keystone pipeline," said press secretary to Speaker John Boehner, Brandon Buck. "The President has time and again sided with his liberal base over American families."

President Obama didn't watch last night's GOP presidential candidates debate, though he sounded as though he wanted to have the last word today on energy policy.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.