FORT LUPTON, Colo. - Returning to Colorado for the first time since being defeated in the state's primary in February, Mitt Romney today focused his speech entirely on energy, laying out what he would do to capitalize on energy already stateside and pinching the president for taking credit for the increase in oil production.
"I recognize that what you're seeing in terms of growth of the energy sector is happening in places like this, where men and women working in oil, coal, gas, are able to create jobs, help keep the cost of energy down to the extent that we can - that's good not only for American families, it's good for American enterprise and manufacturing," Romney said, standing in front of an oil pump at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. "Now the president tries to take credit for the fact that oil production is up. I'd like to take credit for the fact that when I was governor, the Red Sox won the World Series, but neither one of those would be the case."
Romney went on to paint the president's energy policies as "simply out of date," renewing an argument he first made Tuesday in Michigan that sought to link Obama to "old-school liberal policies."
"This is a choice for the American people," Romney said. "They can decide to stick with President Obama. And many feel he's a nice guy. I don't have a problem with the man personally. But his policies are rooted in perspectives of the past.
"His ideas about energy are simply out of date. His other policies flow from the thinking of the liberals from years ago," he said. "Liberals, their view was, 'If there's a problem in our economy, the government ought to take things over and run it.'"
Romney said that if he is elected, he will "open lands for exploration," "expand leases on western land" and "open up ANWR."
"I'm going to get drilling in the Gulf going again. I'm going to make sure we drill for oil in the outer continental shelf, people in Virginia have been waiting and waiting for the approval to drill for oil in the outer continental shelf off their coast, they want to do so, their governor wants to do so but the Obama administration says they want to study it some more," Romney said. "They should have done more studying on Solyndra and less studying on that drilling in the outer continental shelf."
Romney said he supports fracking regulations to be done at the state level and "not have the federal government take it over."
"I want to make sure we can use our coal now recognize that as we take advantage of our energy resources a number of very good things happen," he said. "One people get lower cost energy, that's good for American middle-class families, all families. Two we get more energy jobs. Those 75,000 more jobs in oil and gas and coal, I want to see those job numbers keep going up. And number three, if we have low cost energy, which is a major input for all sorts of manufacturing you're going to see a resurgence of manufacturing gin America."
Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama re-election campaign, promptly accused Romney of being "dishonest about both President Obama's record on energy and his own."
"Contrary to Romney's rhetoric, President Obama has aggressively pursued an all-of-the-above energy strategy - helping to expand domestic oil production, incentivize research and development for clean coal, nearly double the production of renewable energy, and encourage natural gas production - which has increased every year under President Obama to an all-time high," Smith said. "And his policies have paid off in energy jobs, the oil and gas industry has added tens of thousands of jobs, employment in coal mining has reached a 15-year high, and his investments in the clean energy sector have supported more than 200,000 jobs.
"The real question is why Mitt Romney has embraced a backward-looking strategy of pushing to give more tax breaks to the big oil and gas companies and eliminate protections against Wall Street speculators manipulating oil prices," Smith said. "These policies may help the big oil donors that Mitt Romney has cultivated, but they will do nothing to relieve middle-class families' pain at the pump."