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Video: Obama: U.S. 'victims' to shifts in oil markets

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama: U.S. 'victims' to shifts in oil markets

    >>> in this country, when presidents and politicians use terms like "u.s. interests" and "the flow of commerce" in the middle east and north africa , often those are just euphemisms for oil and the u.s. cannot function without it. we import about 11 million barrels per day . so president obama attempted something today other presidents have attempted. he set an ambitious goal for breaking america's reliance on foreign oil . white house correspondent savannah guthrie at the white house tonight with more on this. savannah, good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, brian. the president said today we americans have kind of a familiar pattern. we go from shock when prices go up at the pump to a trance when they go back down, never solving the underlying problems. like many presidents before him, he vowed today to change that.

    >> the president of the united states .

    >> reporter: under pressure with gas prices at home surging and unrest in the middle east spreading, president obama today outlined his plan to wean america off foreign oil .

    >> and we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we finally get serious about a long-term policy for a secure, affordable energy future.

    >> reporter: the president's goal, cut oil imports by a third over ten years, by reducing u.s. consumption, greater use of clean energy , biofuels and natural gas , and by boosting oil and gas production here at home. the president accused oil companies of sitting on existing oil leases without exploring or drilling. but republicans say it's democrats who are slowing domestic exploration with increased regulation in the wake of the gulf oil spill.

    >> so the problem isn't that we need to look elsewhere for our energy, the problem is that democrats don't want us to use the energy we have.

    >> reporter: driven by turmoil in the middle east , the nationwide average cost per gallon has jumped, now $3.55, prices not seen since 2008 in the height of the presidential campaign. still, a potent pocketbook issue that could affect the president's political fortunes in 2012 .

    >> i've got to be honest. we've run into the same political gridlock, the same inertia that has held us back for decades. that has to change.

    >> reporter: and the president said nuclear power is also part of the plan, but in the wake of what happened in japan, he's ordered a safety review of all u.s. nuclear plants , brian.

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