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VOL. 36 | NO. 3 | Friday, January 20, 2012




Obama turns attention to energy in key states

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Barack Obama was returning Thursday to two western states key to his re-election, Nevada and Colorado, promoting his energy agenda while grabbing some of the political spotlight ahead of his Republican rivals.

Obama promoted the sale of new oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the promise of cars running on natural gas, defending his energy agenda against critics who say his policies have stifled domestic energy production.

The White House is portraying Obama as willing to seek the middle ground on energy after Republicans and the industry criticized him for the moratorium put in place after the Gulf disaster, the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and other policies they say have hampered production, jobs and national energy security.

"We need an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy — a strategy that's cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs," Obama said at a Nevada UPS center, flanked by large trucks bearing the delivery company's logos.

The parcels the Obama administration is putting up for lease in June are part of an offshore drilling plan for 2007-12 put in place by President George W. Bush. But after the massive BP oil spill led to an overhaul of the government's oversight of offshore exploration and production, some of those areas were re-evaluated for the environmental risks associated with drilling, in some cases delaying the original auction date.

Later, speaking at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, Obama was expected to highlight the expanded use of clean energy by the Defense Department. The Air Force is installing a one-megawatt solar array on the base, and it tested jets last year that are powered by advanced biofuels.

Both Nevada and Colorado hold their presidential caucuses within the next two weeks — events that have grown in importance as the Republican contest for the White House appears to narrow to a choice between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Obama kicked off his post-State of the Union address to Congress tour on Wednesday in Iowa and Arizona, pushing for tax incentives for manufacturers. His three-day trip concludes Friday in Michigan.

Obama won both Nevada and Colorado in the 2008 presidential election — a contest that is a state-by-state battle for electoral votes. He visited both states in late October, using that trip to launch a phase of his campaign to jump-start the economy. With economic indicators improving, he now visits on a higher note.

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