President Barack Obama said Thursday that the Justice Department will try to "root out" cases of fraud or manipulation in oil markets, even as Attorney General Eric Holder suggested a variety of legal reasons may be behind gasoline's surge to $4 a gallon."We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," Obama said at a town-hall style meeting at a renewable energy plant in Reno.
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.84 on Thursday, about 30 cents higher than a month ago and almost a dollar higher than a year ago.
Obama, decrying such levels as yet another hardship "at a time when things were already pretty tough," said Holder was forming the Financial Fraud Enforcement Working Group.
The task force will focus some of its investigation on "the role of traders and speculators" in the oil-price surge Obama said. The group will include several Cabinet department officials, federal regulators and the National Association of Attorneys General.
In Washington, Holder said he would press ahead with the investigation, even though he did not cite any current evidence of intentional manipulation of oil and gas prices or fraud.
No word yet if Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be among those Holder will depose for keeping gas prices artificially high:
Also, no word yet if the prices have risen as gradually as candidate Obama preferred in 2008:
Also, no word yet if Obama will tell more people to simply trade in their cars and accept the higher gas prices:
And of course, the MSM is being as schizophrenic as the president -- alternately running articles such as the one above deploring the rise of gasoline prices...
Rhetorical exit question: How does AP run an article like that with a straight face, when this administration has been so outspoken -- from the campaign trail onward -- about wanting to raise energy prices through the roof?
Related: "The Buck Stops A-Ways Over There," Steve Green writes at Vodkapundit. And come to think of it, a Martini or three contemplating the price of gasoline this summer doesn't sound like a bad idea at all.