White House Campaign Mode

While I have been running around the country chasing Republican candidates for the White House, President Obama's own campaign has been quietly prepping for this election year. On Thursday, the first real salvos were fired by the Obama-Biden team.

At the same time, President Obama used an energy speech outside of Washington, D.C. to smack Republicans while Vice President Biden assumed the role of attack dog in a speech to auto workers in Toledo, Ohio.

"Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich -- these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do," Biden said in a fired up tone.

"Simply stated, we’re about promoting the private sector, they’re about protecting the privileged sector," Biden said to applause.

"We are for a fair shot and a fair shake. They’re about no rules, no risks, and no accountability," the Vice President added.

And he didn't stop there, saying Republicans would have let thousands of jobs go down the drain in the U.S. auto industry by opposing the auto bailout.

"Governor Romney was more direct -- let Detroit go bankrupt," Biden said to boos.

"I want to tell you what’s real bankruptcy, the economic theories of Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney -- they are bankrupt," said Biden, warming up for a sound bite that was sure to make the evening news.

"If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again," said Biden.

Not to be outdone, President Obama used his speech just outside the Beltway to mock and ridicule Republican calls for more oil and gas exploration as the main way to bring down energy prices.

"It's like a bad rerun," Mr. Obama said of the GOP attacks, as he gave the back of the hand to Newt Gingrich's repeated discussion of how his plans would bring back gas to $2.50/gallon.

"I guess this year they decided, we're going to make it $2.50," the President said to general laughter in the crowd.

"I don't know where -- why not $2.40? Why not $2.10?" he added to even more howls of approval from the audience, which seemed more in campaign mode than one for an official White House event as the President said it's time for more than just more oil.

"We need an energy strategy for the future -- an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy," the President said, again using a line that Republicans thought they owned.

Mr. Obama went a step further in his attacks, accusing the GOP of looking back and not wanting to develop future sources of energy.

"Let me tell you something; if some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society," the President said, clearly enjoying the line he had just delivered.

The President even went one step further, mocking President Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican in the late 19th century, saying that Hayes couldn't see how the invention of the telephone would change the nature of communication.

"One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, "It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?"" Mr. Obama said to laughter.

"That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore - because he’s looking backwards. He’s not looking forwards."

That might have sounded like a good metaphor for the energy debate, except for one thing - it doesn't seem like Hayes really said that.

Instead, Hayes was evidently in love with technology of the day, and embraced the telephone and the typewriter.

But before you savage Mr. Obama about that historical misinformation, evidently President Ronald Reagan cited the same incorrect story back in 1985.

You just can't make this stuff up.

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