Rep. Michele Bachmann on Wednesday slammed President Barack Obama's plan to quell rising gas prices, saying he's "waving a tar baby in the air" to distract from the price at the pump.
Obama on Tuesday proposed a $52 million crackdown that would increase penalties on market manipulation by oil speculators and give federal regulators more authority and funding for enforcement.
In an interview with The Shark Tank, a conservative news site that focuses on Florida politics, the Minnesota congresswoman and former GOP presidential candidate scoffed at Obama's plan and said "every single thing he does is filtered through a grid called his re-election."
"This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem," Bachmann said. "I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everybody else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem. It's always everyone else's fault."
The problem, Bachmann said, is that "liberals continue to lock up the energy resources that we have in the United States." She said Obama already has "every tool at his disposal to deal with speculators," from the Federal Trade Commission or the Security Exchange Commission.
"He said no to oil drilling, he said no to coal companies, he said no to fracking for natural gas and no to building the Keystone pipeline. Now he wants to blame people who are buying oil futures?" she said. "It's anybody but Obama for Obama. And that's why we have to call him out. The president is a complete and utter fraud and a hypocrite on this issue, with all due respect to the president."
The term "tar baby" is considered a racial epithet by some.
Last year, Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn apologized after using the term on the radio in discussing Obama's economic policies and saying being associated with the president could tarnish a politician's image.
"Now I don't want to even have to be associated with him. It is like touching a tar baby and you get it -- you're stuck, and you're part of the problem now," Lamborn said.
Update: Bachmann press secretary Becky Rogness told Politico Thursday morning Bachmann's comment had "nothing to do with race" and that she used the term as a colloquialism to mean a "sticky situation."
“The Congresswoman values all human life – regardless of race, color or creed,” Rogness told Politico in an email. “If you listen to the interview, Rep. Bachmann was making a point about the President’s poor understanding of oil prices, which has nothing to do with race. The President doesn’t understand the oil market and hence, has gotten himself into a sticky situation.”
(h/t The Shark Tank)