Increasing America’s energy independence came up quickly in the presidential debate last night and it showed some similarities and some clear differences between the candidates.
“I think it’s important for us to develop new sources of energy here in America,” President Obama said in his opening remarks. Governor Romney followed up by putting energy first in his five part plan to help the economy. “One, get us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs,” he said.
President Obama noted that he and Romney agree on the need to boost American energy production and that domestic oil and natural gas production have increased in recent years. “But I also believe that we’ve got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments,” the president said. Romney stressed the need for more oil and natural gas development on government land and support for clean coal. “I like coal,” said Romney.
When the issue of corporate taxes came up, Obama charged that the oil industry gets too many tax breaks. “The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare,” said Obama. “Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they’re making money every time you go to the pump?”
Romney countered that Obama has given “green energy” projects more tax breaks that oil. “Now, I like green energy as well,” said Romney. “You put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.”
Those comments scored no points for Romney with the Truman National Security Project. “Mitt Romney’s energy plan ignores the advice of our military leaders and doubles down on oil – even as we send a billion dollars a day overseas for it,” said Truman Project spokesman David Solimini. “Thankfully, today we import less oil than we have in 20 years and we’re investing in manufacturing jobs on things like wind turbines.”