Keystone Pipeline Decision Aimed at President Obama’s Political Base

Top aides to President Obama say that his desire to satisfy two key political constituencies — environmental advocates and affluent Democratic donors — played a major role in his decision to reject an application to build a pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas. The president’s political advisers said that approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline would have alienated his political base and would have created nowhere near the 20,000 jobs that oil industry advocates claimed it would. Although the president expected sharp criticism from Republicans, labor unions, and business, one top Obama aide told the Web site, Politico, “There was never the slightest doubt we were going to say, ‘No.’” Environmentalists praised the president’s decision, with Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, adding, “I think it shores up his base — definitely.” Obama denounced a “rushed and arbitrary” deadline of Feb. 21 that congressional Republicans had set for his decision during negotiations over a payroll tax extension.