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Politics and the Price of Gas

Ohio River Ramble

Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
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GRANVILLE, Ohio -- The price of gas is an ongoing story on the Ramble. As we've driven from district to district, we've kept a close eye out to see how low gas will go.

Last night, exiting off of Route 16 we saw the first signs for sub-$2 gas. Three stations offered fuel for $1.98 or $1.99 per gallon. By the time we reached our hotel -- in Newark, Ohio -- the cost was back up to $2.19.

(A quick sidebar: If you happen to be in south-central Ohio any time soon, make sure to stop by Natoma Cafe in downtown Newark. Named for an opera by Victor Herbert, this homey enclave wins the award for best meal of the Ramble to date. Make sure to have the baby beef -- the specialty of the house.)

The politics of gas are fascinating in these congressional districts as Democrats in nearly every one are hammering their Republican opponents for accepting donations from oil and gas companies. Despite the drop in the cost of a gallon of gas, most Democrats insist they are not concerned that it will blunt one of their key issues in the fall campaign.

Cincinatti City Councilman John Cranley (D), who is challenging Rep. Steve Chabot (R) in the fall, said the declining price at the pump made little difference to his call for a new energy policy. "The government should not be subsidizing the most proiftbale corporations in the history of the world," he said.

In the midst of the back and forth on gas prices comes a new poll from Gallup that shows large numbers of the American public are skeptical about the timing of the cost cuts. Forty-two percent of the sample said that the Bush Administration had "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections," while 53 percent said the price drop had nothing to do with the President.

Don't forget that state Rep. Mike Weaver (D), who is running against Rep. Ron Lewis (R) in Kentucky's 2nd district, told your Ramblers on day one that voters should question whether the price at the pump is being manipulated.

This seems to be an issue that Democrats will continue to use because it is resonating with the voters.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 26, 2006; 9:56 AM ET
Categories:  Ohio River Ramble  
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