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Obama defends oil policy

President Obama says there is no easy answer to the problem of rising energy prices, and he dismisses Republican solutions as little more than gimmicks.

"We know there's no silver bullet that will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. "But what we can do is get our priorities straight and make a sustained, serious effort to tackle this problem."

Oil prices are approaching last year's highs as tensions increase over Iran's nuclear program. Gasoline prices rose Friday to a national average of $3.65 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year but still below last year's high of $3.98 and the record $4.11 set in 2008.

Obama said Republicans have one answer to the oil pinch: drill. "You know that's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling," he said, echoing his remarks earlier in the week. "It's a bumper sticker."

Obama is pushing what he calls an "all-of-the-above" approach to the problem, meaning an attempt to seek alternative energy sources while reducing consumption.

In the Republican address, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison blamed the rise in gasoline prices partly on the Obama administration, which she said has blocked some potential new sources of oil and gas.

"We can't slow down global demand for oil and gas, but we can do a lot more here at home to assure that we have the energy we need and to halt skyrocketing costs," she said. "President Obama's policy has resulted in an unprecedented slowdown in new exploration and production of oil and gas."

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