Chu Mulligans His Call for Higher Gas Prices

Oops.

Last Tuesday at a news conference, the president insisted to Fox News that it was fallacy to think his team was in favor of higher gas prices to wean Americans off fossil fuels.

"You think the president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher?" the president asked. "Is that -- is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?"

Well, one Barack Obama used to think that made a whole lot of sense.

Fast forward to this week, when the president's Energy Secretary Steven Chu acknowledged Tuesday at a Senate hearing that he indeed told the Wall Street Journal in September 2008 that getting U.S. prices up to higher, European-level gas prices would help move Americans to use more renewables.

But with rising gas prices sinking the president's approval rating in some new national polls, Chu says he has had a change of heart.

"Are you saying that you no longer share the view that we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America?" Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Chu.

"I no longer share that view," the energy secretary said.

"But you did then, but you don't now?" pressed Lee.

Chu noted that he had made the comments before he was in government, just a couple of months before Obama won election and Chu was nominated to his current post.

"When I became secretary of energy I represented the U.S. government and I think that right now in this economic -- very slow return -- that we need to have, these prices well could affect the comeback of our economy and we're very worried about that," said Chu. "And so, of course, we don't want the price of gasoline to go up. We want it to go down."

It's tough to walk back the facts that Chu called explicitly for higher gas prices, that Obama explicitly called for higher energy prices, that Obama also said he wanted high gas prices, and that Obama hired Chu. It's not difficult to find the basis upon which Obama made that hire: They agree.

These guys want higher gas prices. They just want higher poll numbers more.