(Reuters) - President Barack Obama, arming himself against election-year attacks on his energy policies amid painfully high gas prices, welcomed a report on Monday showing a one million barrel-per-day decline in U.S. oil imports in 2011.
Obama is stepping up defense of his record amid concern that rising oil prices may lift the price of gasoline at the pump to $5 a gallon in some parts of the country this summer, which could pose a threat to the Democratic president's bid for re-election on November 6.
"Today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future," Obama said in a statement on the progress report on energy security. "We have made progress."
The report showed U.S. oil imports declined to 8.4 million barrels a day by the end of 2011 compared with 11 million barrels a day when Obama took office in January 2009. Read More