HOBBS, N.M. -- Seeking to reset his economic message, Republican Mitt Romney pledged yesterday to create 3 million jobs and more than $1 trillion in revenue by ramping up offshore oil drilling and giving states more control over energy production on federal land.
Romney, reviving a long-elusive goal pushed by presidents and presidential candidates for decades, said his plans would make the United States, along with Canada and Mexico, energy independent by 2020.
"This is not some pie in the sky kind of thing," Romney declared in Hobbs, the heart of New Mexico's oil and gas industry. "This is a real achievable objective."
The cornerstone of Romney's plan is opening up more areas for offshore oil drilling, including in the mid-Atlantic, where it is currently banned. He also wants to give states the power to establish all forms of energy production on federal lands, a significant shift in current policy that could face strong opposition in Congress.
His proposals make little mention of renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, backed by President Barack Obama. Romney has deep ties to big oil and raised more than $7 million from industry executives at a fundraiser in Texas earlier this week.
The presumptive Republican nominee's attempts to refocus on his plans for job creation follows a week dominated by comments made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a Senate candidate who said a woman's body is able to avoid pregnancy during what he called a "legitimate rape." Romney called for Akin to drop out of the Senate race, but the congressman so far has refused.
Obama's campaign also began a new push on the economy yesterday with a television advertisement featuring former President Bill Clinton. Speaking directly to the camera, Clinton says voters face a "clear choice" over which candidate will return the nation to full employment.
"We need to keep going with his plan," Clinton says of Obama in the ad, which will run in eight battleground states.
The former president draws a connection between Obama's policies for strengthening the middle class and the nation's economic prosperity during his time in office, when the U.S. economy was thriving. Obama's campaign has been seeking to use Clinton to remind voters that the economy was strong the last time a Democrat held the White House.