Gas prices fire up Republican candidates in Mississippi

Biloxi Sun TimesMarch 13, 2012 

BILOXI -- With gas prices nationwide jumping nearly a nickel over the weekend, GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum focused on domestic drilling at an energy summit in Biloxi on Monday before today’s primary vote in Mississippi.

The two, along with Gov. Phil Bryant, took turns bashing President Obama and his energy policy and saying they want to drill to lower prices and bring energy independence. As they spoke, a group from the 12 Miles South Coalition of Coast environmental and business leaders against offshore drilling in Mississippi protested with placards and speeches on the beach across U.S. 90 from the summit at the Coliseum.

Gingrich said Obama and his energy advisors have an “anti-energy policy” and are “in cloud cuckooland.” He said Obama suffers from a “cognitive dissonance” mental disorder over energy.

Santorum said Obama “has a two-letter energy policy -- N.O.” He called Obama and his energy advisors “radical environmentalists.” Both said voters today should elect a GOP nominee who can properly debate Obama on energy matters, and who will help tap domestic reserves of oil and gas and drive prices down.

Santorum said he’s “stood tall” on such issues, while his opponents have shifted with political winds over the years.

“We need someone who didn’t buy into that environmental hoax of man-made global warming,” Santorum said. “I opposed any cap-and-trade, unlike other people in this race who sat on couches with (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) or crowed when they were governor of Massachusetts about imposing the first carbon tax. And warning against the dangers of carbon dioxide, calling it a toxin. Tell that to a plant. We had rational individuals on our side jumping onboard, including (Gingrich and Romney). I didn’t change as the climate changed.

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