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Democrats, Mourdock attack Lugar on gas prices

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U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar's opponents are hitting the embattled incumbent on policies they say would be driving gas prices higher than they already are.

Democrats pointed Wednesday to a series of speeches Lugar gave in 2006 calling for a baseline price for a barrel of oil as a way to drive investment in alternative fuels. Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, meanwhile, has spent roughly $35,000 on an ad attacking Lugar for supporting a $1 gas tax proposal in 2009. The tax never came to fruition.

"Senator Richard Lugar clearly believes that we should be paying more at the pump, not less," Indiana Democratic Party spokesman Ben Ray said Wednesday.

Ray pointed to a March 2006 speech Lugar delivered at the Brookings Institution where he called for a $35-per-barrel price floor that would trigger federal subsidies for alternative fuels, such as ethanol, to help them compete against oil.

"Many analysts say that expensive oil is here to stay, but most energy investors are hesitant to take on that risk. A modest price floor for oil that we may never reach would provide a major stimulation for energy alternatives," Lugar said in the speech.

Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher says critics are distorting separate plans that included tax offsets and an end to an expensive ethanol tax credit. Fisher says the plans would have saved billions of tax dollars. The price-floor trigger, he said, was designed to keep foreign oil producers from undercutting the development of alternative fuels by dropping their prices arbitrarily.

"It blunts the oil weapon that OPEC is trying to use against the U.S.," Fisher said.

Mourdock's campaign, meanwhile, hit Lugar for supporting a gas tax hike in 2009. The anti-tax Club for Growth blasted Lugar for voting for a gas tax in 1982. Fisher beat back those critiques, noting that in 2009 Lugar also called for an offset to the gas tax hike that would have cut payroll taxes.

The new attacks comes just weeks before Lugar faces Mourdock in the May 8 Republican primary and are the latest in a series of criticisms from opponents in the fight of his political career.

Lugar hit back at the start of the week, buying roughly $100,000 worth of airtime for an ad accusing Mourdock of relying heavily on out-of-state money for his campaign. Former Lugar staffers running the Indiana Values Super PAC, meanwhile, opened an online push Wednesday asserting that a Mourdock win would give Democrats their best shot at winning the seat in November.

Political attacks on the rising price of gas — AAA reported Wednesday's national average for a gallon of regular gas at $3.92 — have become rampant from both Republicans and Democrats.

Indiana Republicans have parroted national critiques of President Barack Obama for blocking development of offshore oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Lugar has hit the president for blocking the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would pipe Canadian oil sands through the plains states to Texas oil refineries.

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  • Too Funny
    Our government spent over $2 Trillion Dollars trying to control the oil output in the Middle East, claiming the need to locate WMD's in Iraq. We now need to slow the Iranian Nuclear Program, which will reduce worldwide oil output by roughly 10%, so we recently asked the Saudi Rulers to just open their output pumps to make-up the difference. Folks here in Indiana need to research Consumer Prices for Gasoline and Diesel Fuel in Europe, which might explain where the US Fuel Market is headed. Europeans have been driving more fuel efficient vehicles for twenty years, and local auto sales reflect that Hoosiers are moving toward similar fuel efficient vehicles. So in a way, the Federal Government subsidized the US Gasoline Market to the tune of $2 Trillion dollars between 2003 and 2011. Now we are forced to pay for that subsidy at the pump. By the way, we will never see $2.50 gasoline prices again, regardless of who we elect to the Senate, House, or White House.
    • Lugar v. Mourdock
      Does anybody understand the incoherent ad that Senator Lugar is running on TV, blasting Mourdock and some other Dem for who knows what? I have no idea what the ad is accusing them of.
    • Babies.......
      What a nation of whimps and complainers. Gas is expensive. We demand excessive amounts of it for our chosen lifestyle. Gas is private business, as such, the price should be set by the owner. If you don't like it, change what you do, change what you use. If a restaurant raises its food price, I probably will stop going. I certainly don't demand the government subsidize my meal nor do I expect us to go to war to "secure" lower prices. Oil is not a necessity, it is a choice. It is a finite resource controlled by the highest bidder. Eventually, it will be gone. It seems people in this country have no concept of this. You demand more and more and alternatives be darned. The stone age didn't end becaue we ran out of stone. It ended because we found something better..........let's not wait until we run out of oil to find something better.
    • only lugar?
      Look it’s not just Lugar we should be looking at riding state government of. Does anyone not remember the Democrat walkouts? Pat Bauer so needs to go also. They are both part of that ancient boys club running this state. It’s as if we entered a new millennium and these men are stuck in the 1950s and have no clue as to what will make Indiana a great state in the years to come. As a lifelong Democrat in Indiana I was completely embarrassed by his “call to arms” for the Democrats to walkout. It is a total travesty of our judicial system that this tool is not in jail for pulling that stunt! I mean isn’t a man who was going through a divorce who voted in the wrong polling place going to serve jail time? So this man is supposed to represent the Democratic Party in Indiana can coerce our state representatives to leave the state and hide out like a five year old having a tantrum in a neighboring state. On our dime. And we should just look the other way? I mean sure Lugers got it coming to him for just doing a sad job in the first place. But, if we are going to be pointing fingers come November shouldn’t we be looking inside our party first? Glass houses and all…

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