FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Violence rages on in the Middle East. Fighting continues in Libya. In Syria, a human rights group reports that more than 400 people have been killed over the past few weeks.
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We're still engaged in Iraq, still fighting in Afghanistan. Now everybody is wondering what to do about Syria. At last word President Obama was "considering sanctions." Whatever that means. His strategy and leadership skills are increasingly being called into question, and the chorus of critics is getting louder.
While the problems continue to multiply in the Middle East, many Americans are just trying to figure out how they're going to pay for their daily commute to work. Gas prices are off the charts with predictions now that they could hit $6 a gallon this summer. We're already about 25 cents away from the record high reached in July of 2008. Rising oil prices and the falling value of the dollar don't offer much hope for relief anytime soon.
The president's been talking a lot about gas prices lately, working the topic into speeches in Virginia, Nevada and California last week. He also announced a task force led by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek out fraud and manipulation of gas prices. That's what the politicians do every time gas prices spike. They start looking for an imaginary boogey man.
Today the President wrote a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to repeal preferential tax laws for the oil companies. That'll happen.
House Republicans have announced they are planning to hold hearings and will introduce legislation in response to high gas prices. In an interview with ABC News yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner said high gas prices could cost President Obama re-election.
He might be right. The president's approval ratings are near an all time low.
Here’s my question to you: If the election was held today, which would be the bigger issue for you, gas prices or the Middle East?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
The Middle East. If that area can be settled down with countries under governments that are at least tolerant of others and open to compromise, then gas prices will take care of themselves.
Vince in Dallas, Georgia:
The two go hand and hand. You can't be concerned about gas prices without being concerned with what's going on in the Middle East. Once this movement sweeping the Middle East hits Saudi Arabia, $4.00 a gallon will seem like a bargain. Let's get focused on those renewable energy sources.
David in Alexandria, Virginia:
Gas prices, by far. Not because of the financial pain, but because of the lack of presidential leadership for the past 2.5 years in coming up with a strategy which will lead to a solution. If he can't muster the leadership skills to recognize energy as a pivotal problem for us and come up with something better than the "hope and change" blather of two years ago, our President just doesn't get it. And he should not get four more years of on-the-job training to learn at our expense.
Anthony in Syracuse, New York:
For me the bigger issue would be the Middle East. Gas prices were this high a few years ago and we survived. The people of Syria, Bahrain and other Arab countries are being killed by their own governments and they have little means of defending themselves. It'll be pathetic if the United States stands by just like we did for Rwanda, and then declares "never again" after it's far too late.
W. in Pennsylvania:
Jack, we love free markets till the supply/demand ratio causes our oil addiction to cost us money. We do not yet pay what the rest of the world already pays for gasoline and diesel fuel. Why are we involved in three wars against countries that have not harmed us and have no capacity to harm us? They just have resources our corporations want.
Given just these two choices, I'd pick gas prices. But the real issue for the 2012 election should only be one: Jobs.