Obama putting Oklahoma pipeline on fast track

By Ken Thomas

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 12:15 a.m. MDT

In an interview with American Public Media's "Marketplace" on Wednesday, Obama noted that the funding came from a loan guarantee program approved by Congress to help renewable energy companies, some of which would not succeed.

"Do I wish that Solyndra had gone bankrupt? Absolutely not. And obviously it's heartbreaking what happened to the workers who were there," Obama said. "When you look at the overall portfolio, is it right for us to make sure that we're not just cashing in our chips and letting the Chinese or the Germans develop the technologies that we know are going to be critical in the future? I'm proud to say that we're going to continue to support it."

Electoral politics remain close to the surface. Nevada and New Mexico remain top targets on Obama's 2012 election map, and while Republican stronghold Oklahoma will get scant attention from his political team, taking his message to the site of a future oil pipeline allows him to strike back at his chief critics on energy.

Obama was ending the day with a stop in battleground Ohio, talking about automobile research and development at Ohio State University in Columbus. The president has cited his decision to raise fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon for new vehicles by 2025 as an important step in conserving oil and saving consumers at the gas pump.

Obama has repeatedly invoked his decision to rescue General Motors and Chrysler from collapse with billions in federal aid, a move that saved hundreds of thousands of auto assembly and supplier jobs in Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere. Romney opposed the bailout, and Obama's team intends to make it a stark contrast between the two candidates if the former Massachusetts governor wins the GOP nomination.

Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

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