President Barack Obama Thursday mocked Republican foes who snub his alternative energy plans, comparing them to those who questioned the revolutionary rise of television and automobiles.
Obama, facing rising political heat over spiking gas prices as he fires up his bid for a second term ahead of November's election, hit back at those who accuse him of wasting taxpayer money on failed new generation energy projects.
In his most sarcastic and cutting campaign mode, Obama slammed his rivals as "naysayers" who were stuck in the past, doubling down on his energy policy despite claims from Republican candidates that it is a miserable failure.
"Lately, we've heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who are running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed... they have been talking down new sources of energy," Obama said.
Obama strongly defended his plans to make America a leader in new energy sources like biofuels, and wind power and solar power, and rebuked Republicans for opposing his plans to cut subsidies to profit cranking oil producers.
"If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail ... they would not have believed that the world was round," he said, at a Community College in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington DC.
"They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, "Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan," he said.
"One of Henry Ford's advisors was quoted saying, "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only — a fad."
"There have always been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future and don't believe in trying to do things differently."
Obama warned supporters that they would likely soon hear Republican calls of "drill, drill, drill" as election season heats up, and but warned that solely relying on new oil exploration would not solve America's energy woes.
"America uses more than 20 percent of the world's oil. If we drilled every square inch of this country .... we would still have only two percent of the world's known oil reserves.
"If you have got two and you have got 20, there is a gap."
Republicans accused Obama of "lowballing" the true extent of America's oil reserves, citing research that indicates that proven extractable energy could prove to be much higher.
Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Fox News on Thursday that Obama was compounding America's energy problems but not opening up drilling in the Arctic, and by not approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada among other projects.
"The world believes that America's not going to have the energy we need, and we're going to have to continue sending hundreds of billions of dollars out of our economy going into other nations," Romney said.
"We need a president to open up these things."