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U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his strongest endorsement of oil on Thursday, ordering an unprecedented release of emergency U.S. crude in a move that gambled his climate-saving credentials on lowering gasoline prices in an election year.

If the strategy works, Biden may help stave off both a recession and crushing defeats for his party in midterm elections, while drawing the ire of climate activists and potentially derailing his green goals. If it fails — and it very well might — he risks looking like Jimmy Carter, snubbed by oil-rich Mideast nations and powerless to rein in prices at the pump.

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