While the campaign was launched as prices at the pump were creeping upward to the highest levels in years, AEA spokesman Benjamin Cole said the group’s theme of energy affordability continues to resonate with voters, even as oil prices have stabilized in the subsequent months. “The fact is, gas is twice what it was in 2009 when President Obama took office,” he said. “The fact is, the sources he’s invested in are the most expensive.”
As a nonprofit issue advocacy group, the AEA is not supposed to support individual candidates or political parties but exists to spread a message that Cole summarizes as “energy makes your life better, and the cheaper energy is the better.” The spokesman said his group has no interest in taking out-front sides in the partisan fray because “Republicans have stupid ideas on energy, and Democrats have stupid ideas on energy.”
Nonetheless, in the coming days, the AEA will launch a five-week bus tour through 18 states, including some battlegrounds that could well decide who controls Congress and the White House after November. There will be stops in New Mexico, Montana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida…The tour, intended to highlight the economic importance of refined petroleum products, will roughly trace the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,700-mile project, which would carry petroleum produced from the abundant oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries, has been a headache for Democrats since major environmental groups last year decided to make it a litmus test for their support of Obama’s re-election bid.