Remember the 2012 presidential campaign? It was just two years ago that Mitt Romney boasted that if he were elected president, he’d “get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower” by the end of his first term in 2016.
Americans decided to re-elect President Obama instead. The unemployment dropped below 6 percent in September 2014, about two years ahead of Romney’s timeline.
It was around this time when Newt Gingrich vowed that if he were the president, he’d lower the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon. That was the threshold for success.
Which brings us to this morning’s latest news from the energy sector.
This week’s national average is $2.47 per gallon, also down by more than 14 cents from last week.Triple-A analysts say prices could fall even further in the coming weeks, barring unforeseen circumstances.
You know, by the standards set by Republicans two years ago, Obama sure is looking like a great success, isn’t he?
For those who didn’t follow the 2012 race too closely – or perhaps, for those who tended to ignore the disgraced former House Speaker – Gingrich didn’t just focus on gas prices, he made this the centerpiece of his entire campaign. He even started making campaign appearances with $2.50 on a gas pump as his unofficial logo, as seen in the above photo.
Indeed, in February 2012, when the average price for a gallon of gas was $4.25, the Georgia Republican said we’d already be paying $2.50 per gallon if it weren’t for the Obama administration overseeing “an anti-American energy government.” Gingrich added, “If you want $10 a gallon gasoline … Barack Obama should be your candidate.”
Just so we’re clear, I realize that it’s foolish to credit Obama alone for lowering gas prices – it’s not as if the White House can unilaterally control the price of a global commodity. Rather, the point is, Republicans established some pretty specific policy thresholds, and urged the public to take them seriously. And if we’re playing the game by GOP rules, Obama has some reasons to crow a bit.
As best as I can tell, there’s been no word from Romney or Gingrich on the latest developments on unemployment or gas prices.
Update: The AP report puts the average price at $2.47, but AAA says $2.477, which rounds up to $2.48. The larger point, obviously, remains the same.