Nightly News | April 30, 2011
>>> these high gasoline prices we've been seeing at home now for some time show no signs of easing. aaa reported today that the average price of a gallon of regular is now at $3.93, up eight cents from one week ago. and gas prices are becoming a growing political issue. nbc's mike viqueira reports.
>> you had enough of barack obama ?
>> reporter: from the campaign trail in new hampshire, tough talk from republican presidential hopefuls. seeking political gain from voter pain at the pump.
>> we're going to have to hang the obama misery index around his neck. we're going to hang him with that -- so to speak, metaphorically, with -- you have to be careful these days. i learned that.
>> reporter: today in his weekly address the president called for repeal of the $4 billion in subsidies oil companies get each year.
>> these tax giveaways aren't right. they aren't smart. and we need to end them.
>> reporter: mr. obama's push comes as the companies report near-record first quarter profits. exxon leading the way with a 69% gain over last year. with shell, chevron, and conoco phillips all showing big increases.
>> when oil prices go up in america, oil profits go up.
>> reporter: democrats call the profits excessive and portray republicans as wedded to oil interests. but today the gop rejected the president's call to end federal aid to the industry.
>> his latest proposal, hiking taxes by billions of dollars, will not lower gas prices and would actually make the problem worse.
>> reporter: with congress returning monday from a two-week break, experts say there is little that washington can do to lower the short-term price per gallon. in the end what may bring down the high price of gas is the high price of gas itself.
>> consumers don't realize it, but we have a lot of power. last time when americans stopped driving because they didn't like the high price, that actually did bring down the price of oil over time . and we probably will see that again.
>> reporter: and lester , the decibel level here in washington is only going to get louder in the coming days when the house and senate scum back. in the senate they're going to try to force a vote to cut those oil subsidies. house republicans will try to force a vote for more democracy drilling in the united states . and meanwhile, on monday attorney general eric holder convenes his first ever meeting of that probe into fraud and price manipulation, possibly in oil markets. but lester , nothing is expected to bring down that price of gas between now and that summer driving season. lester ?
>> mike viqueira at the white house . mike, thanks. a program note . more on this morning -- on "meet the press." david gregory 's guests will be former white house senior adviser david axelrod , new york city mayor michael bloomberg , and virginia governor bob mcdonnell . that's on sunday on "meet the press."