WORLD / America

Bush to boost ratings and halt gas price rise
Updated: 2006-04-25 19:55

President George W. Bush, his popularity sinking while gas prices soar, hopes to stave off a potential election-year problem for fellow Republicans with a drive to stop price gouging and push alternative fuels.

President Bush makes remarks about his plan for comprehensive immigration reform at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, California, April 24, 2006. Bush, trying to stave off a potential election-year problem for fellow Republicans, has asked the government to look into spiking gas prices and if Americans are being treated fairly. [Reuters]

With oil prices hitting record highs and gas topping $3 a gallon at some pumps, Democrats hoping to win control of Congress in November have used the issue to slam White House energy policy and Republicans' ties to big oil companies.

Bush's public approval rating has fallen to 32 percent, a new low for his presidency, according to a CNN poll released on Monday. Sixty percent of Americans said they disapproved of the way Bush was handling his job, the poll showed.

In a 10:05 a.m. EDT speech on Tuesday, the president will push a four-part plan to ensure fair treatment for motorists, promote fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, and boost U.S. gas supply, his spokesman said.

"We have a strong economy, but high gas prices are like an additional tax on families that are trying to live within a budget," spokesman Scott McClellan said. "It puts a strain on working families, farmers and small businesses."
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