LARGO -- A crowd of hundreds at Prince George's Community College is awaiting the arrival this morning of President Barack Obama, who is due to deliver the latest in a series of addresses on energy as rising oil costs create a drag on the economic recovery -- and his own re-election effort.
Obama has stressed what he calls an "all of the above" approach to both energy independence and more drilling: Extracting domestic oil and natural gas while investing in solar, wind and other emerging technologies.
He said in his most recent weekly radio address that domestic oil production has reached an eight-year high -- but oil alone won't be enough to meet the nation's energy needs.
"You and I both know that with only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices -- not when [we] consume 20 percent of the world's oil," he said. "We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy -- solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.
"That's the strategy we're pursuing."
Republicans have criticized Obama's deferral of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would have carried crude oil from the tar sands of Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, and blamed him for rising prices at the pump.
"Times may change, but President Obama's speeches stay the same," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney. "Two years ago, the President traveled to Maryland to talk about his energy policies and how he was 'helping folks save money at the pump.' Today, he's poised to give the same speech. But with record gas prices and growing discontent among the American people, President Obama's train of broken promises has finally reached the end of the line."
Economists say there is little a president can do to affect gasoline prices, which are subject to global market pressures. The current increases have been driven by conflict with Iran and rising demand in China and India as well as the United States.
Still, nearly five in 10 voters gave Obama negative marks on energy in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday.
Obama was invited to Prince George's County by Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin. Cardin, who is seeking a second term, is facing a primary challenge from state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, a Prince George's County Democrat. Obama has endorsed Cardin in the race.
Also present are Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker. Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.