President Barack Obama is trying to portray himself as the hard-nosed protector of gasoline-buying consumers, and to frame the GOP’s free market policies as one cause of rising gasoline prices.

“We should strengthen protections for American consumers, not gut them,” Obama said in a morning Rose Garden statement.

“Imagine if the NFL quadrupled the number of teams but didn’t increase the number of referees,  he said. “You’d end up having havoc on the field, and you’d diminish the game. It wouldn’t be be fair [and] that’s part of what’s going on in a lot of these markets,” he said, while calling on Congress to give regulators an extra $53 million.

The pitch prompted immediate push-back from skeptical mainstream reporters on a 9:00 a.m phone call, and taunts from GOP activists prior to Obama’s mid-morning statement in the Rose Garden.

“Today’s Rose Garden event is just another gimmick – a shiny object to distract from the fact that Obama doesn’t have a solution for gas prices,” said a statement from Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.


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