WASHINGTON EXTRA - Rockets to Parachutes

WASHINGTON Sat May 7, 2011 7:18am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden during an address to the nation from the White House in Washington, in this still image taken from video May 1, 2011. REUTERS/Pool/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden during an address to the nation from the White House in Washington, in this still image taken from video May 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Pool/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama had a good week. While still basking from the successful hit on America's number one enemy, the administration also enjoyed watching oil prices deflate in one of the biggest commodity declines ever.

High oil prices, all those headlines about the "pain at the pump," had begun to eat away at Obama's presidency, or at least his campaign. And the Republicans were having a field day, saying the Obama administration was driving up oil prices because of its fussy attention on renewable fuel while wringing its hands over that oil spill in the Gulf (so, 2010 y'know).

But this week, as oil prices fell and fell and fell, the administration was quick to put Attorney General Eric Holder and White House press secretary Jay Carney out with a message to Big Oil that Washington was not going to brook any lollygagging on getting those gasoline savings to voters, er consumers.

Carney said the administration will "make sure that we don't have what I've heard described as a 'rockets-and-parachutes phenomenon,' where prices at the pump rocket up when oil prices rocket up, and yet they come down in a parachute fashion when oil prices go down."

Wonder how that rockets-and-parachutes phenomenon will affect Obama's poll numbers.

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Here are our top stories from Washington:

Job numbers give Obama's good week a mixed ending

This week may have been one of Obama's best as president: the long manhunt for Osama bin Laden ended, oil prices fell and Republicans hoping to oust him had a poor first debate. The monthly jobs report contained good news for Obama -- private employers stepped up hiring. But it also contained bad news -- unemployment rose too. [ID:nN06201590]

Obama, taking aim at Big Oil, says gas prices hurt

President Obama said Friday that high gasoline prices are sapping the spending power of Americans, as he tried to limit political fallout by linking it to public hostility toward oil companies. "We've got high gas prices that have been eating away at your paychecks, and that is a headwind that we've got to confront," Obama told auto plant workers. Opposition Republicans have sought to cast blame on the Democratic president for a surge in gas prices that is straining Americans' pocketbooks at a time of sluggish economic recovery. [ID:nN06250009]

White House: Al Qaeda threat shows need for vigilance

The U.S. government remains "highly vigilant" of any attempt by al Qaeda to revenge the killing of its leader, the White House said. White House press secretary Jay Carney said al Qaeda's call for revenge also showed it acknowledged bin Laden was dead, which had been a factor in President Obama deciding not to release pictures of his corpse. [ID:nN06177129]

Little-known Republicans get spotlight at debate

A handful of little-known Republican presidential candidates touted their conservative credentials and vied for a brief shot at the political spotlight during the first debate of the 2012 White House campaign. With the Republican Party's most high-profile contenders skipping the event, the five participants used the nationally televised forum to slam President Obama's leadership and attack what they called his misguided policies on the economy, healthcare and foreign affairs. [ID:nN05301128]

SEC head eyes fast traders on crash anniversary

The top securities regulator called for a broad reassessment of high-frequency trading on the one-year anniversary of the so-called "flash crash" of 2010. "We need to assess the entire regulatory structure surrounding high frequency trading firms and their algorithms," said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro at a funds conference. [ID:nN06143357]

Clinton says action needed to blunt food price rises

The world has to take swift action to arrest steadily rising food prices and step up its commitment to sustainable agriculture, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. Rising food prices have become highly sensitive after fueling protests that toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, with unrest spreading across North Africa and the Middle East. The FAO said Thursday that world food prices rose slightly in April, boosted by concern about the U.S. grains crop, but were still off record highs reached in February. [ID:nLDE7450VF]

To see what we are blogging on Front Row Washington, go to blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/

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