June 23rd, 2008
12:23 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama camp hits McCain on offshore drilling

 Barack Obama's campaign is taking aim at McCain's position on offshore drilling.

Barack Obama's campaign is taking aim at McCain's position on offshore drilling.

(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign launched a broad swipe at rival John McCain's record on energy policy Monday, taking aim at the Arizona senator for appearing to reverse his position on offshore oil drilling.

A memo released by the Obama campaign sharply criticizes McCain for recently expressing support for lifting a decades-old moratorium on offshore drilling, noting he was against lifting the ban while campaigning for president in 1999.

Related: A battle of accused political 'flip-flops'

"The question is whether we are going to offer the American people real answers and genuine relief or the same, tired Washington gimmicks and special interest favors that have failed our families and country for too long," the Obama memo states. "With his proposal to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling that, as even the McCain campaign admits, wouldn’t produce any increase in resources for years and his gas tax gimmick that economists agree wouldn’t significantly reduce the price of gas if at all, John McCain has chosen to offer more of the same instead of change."

Defending McCain's shift on the position Sunday, his economic adviser Carly Fiorina argued that "a good leader is influenced by the facts on the ground."

"We've never before faced a situation where the price of a barrel of oil has doubled in the last 12 months," Fiorina said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "So what John McCain has said is that we now need to take control of our own energy future."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. carlos

    The issue w/oil is not supply, McBush had better get another
    campaign advisor,...

    June 23, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Michael

    I think all of the McCain supporters need to look up "The Real McCain 2" on you tube, this flip flop I think is just a change of mind and I really don't see that his change in position really has the legs that the Obama campaign hopes, however, look up this video, McCain cannot become president, this guy is way off base!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Helene

    As usual Obama is right. McCain is an old fool who does not know what he is talking about.

    June 23, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Vote Nader

    So what's the change you propose Sen. Obama? Break our dependency on foreign oil? Thank you Captain Obvious. All you seem to do is say "That's not what's right for America" about your opponent's plans without providing one of your own in detail. Just broad statements that really aren't statements.

    Spare me the lecture on "reading his plans on-line". He needs to communicate them verbally, especially when he is telling me another candidate's proposals are not right. Build an arguement. Quit making your points by exclaiming "tired politics" and "special interests". It's annoying and does no good.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 23, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    McBush doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.... it would take YEARS to see a drop of oil from offshore drilling... except for the ooze washed up on our beaches with the dead fish. What McBush and the rest of the pro-corporate GOPPERS fail to realize is that the energy crisis is a result of corporate GREED, not supply and demand.

    OBAMA '08

    June 23, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. phil

    when a person is wrong it is intelligent to admit an error and change one's mind .. maybe sen obama needs to re-think his energy advisor.
    his enegy consumption has increased by 10 percent .. and yes we do need to promote alternative energy .. but until we have those alternatives we are going to have to use what we have ..

    June 23, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Still for Hill but now ONLY for Hill

    Pot is calling the pot black.... again.

    Drop out Obama.

    Let the real winner of the democratic party take it from here.

    You have done enough damage to the democrats with your self-agrandizing and your sense of self-important entitlement.

    Hill to the convention.

    no vote for obama.

    June 23, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Veteran in Kansas

    Ryan, grow up. Lisa if you think calling someone a flip flopper is a negative campaign, you are naive, and why should he debate McCain, give a good reason.

    This is a serious issue for the future of our nation. Opening off shore drilling and Anwar fields will do nothing to aid us for 10-20 years it takes to develop the fields. In 10-20 years hopefully we wil have develped altenate energy sources or at very least increased energy efficeintcy.

    If and that is a big if, we were to open our coastal waters and the Anwar to drilling, a little stipulation needs to be added to the the measure. That being that not so much as one drop of US crude reaches the international market before US needs are met. Why take our nations resources and give them out to the highest bidder if our nation suffers. Just makes good sense. If I am a egg farmer, I am not going to raise eggs, sell eggs and then go to the store and buy my neighbors eggs, I am going to keep the eggs I need before selling the eggs. Same goes with oil, if I am going tp permit drilling, then the oil stays here until all of my needs are met. Give that to the oil companies as the rules and see how many still want to drill in those regions.

    June 23, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Benjamin

    Modifying a little of how we approach our energy needs is what this country has to stop doing, it hasn't worked. Remember the oil crisis about 30 yr's ago? We heard the same rhetoric. Mcain is attempting to apply old archaic remedies to real problems of today. If we expect change to happen, then vote for Barrack Obama to be the next President of the United States. African Americans have proved they can perform any occupation in this country. Americans have never had the opportunity to vote for anyone except the white male. Now we have a different choice. You see, change has already begun.

    June 23, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. David Smith

    To say that opening up drilling would have a short term impact is illogical, given how we have a scarcity of refining capacity and given how long it takes exploration to turn into exploitation.

    Thus, like rescinding the gasoline tax at the pump, supporting offshore drilling amounts to nothing more than feel-good politics, something that does not actually cost anything to talk about, will never actually get implemented, and will have no actual effect on the price of oil and those things related to oil.

    It would be better to aggressively support bringing the use of algae to the fuel tanks of our big rigs and any other vehicle that uses diesel – and help determine whether such could be refined to a gasoline substitute.

    June 23, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. jr

    The Obama campaign would have everyone believe that lifting the moratorium on drilling is not the answer. But it is. If we do nothing now, our continued dependency on foreign oil will serve to ruin our economy and turn us into a third world nation at the mercy of a cruel harsh world.

    Alternate energy sources and technologies are the future that we must embrace and work towards. In the best case scenario many of those new alternate energy sources will be available to us as these new wells begin to produce in the future.

    Don't loose sight of the fact that oil equates to so much more then gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuel. It is part and parcel to almost everything made today. Drill now, and we have taken a giant step towards foreign oil dependency. Fail to act now, and the price we must pay later will be more severe then you can imagine.

    June 23, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Olivia

    Obama apparently think it's ok for him to change his mind on campaign financing, but not McCain to change his stance on off-shore drilling.

    Obama is a black man and some people say he is a black man. Now Obama is trying to portray his color as a bad thing by saying some people will use it against him and are racists trying to scare people against him. This man and his campaign has played the racist card so much against the Clintons successfully he doesn't know when to stop.


    June 23, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. gastoys

    Obama is a flip flopper because he CHANGEs his mind to win votes, John McCain realizes there is a real issues regarding the security of our nation's engery needs. McCain is not saying that drilling is the answer, but just and more immediate reliefe until other technologies can be researched and implemented. All I hear from Obama is that we need to research new technologies, but he never addresses what needs to be done today. Obama just wants to tax the oil companys which will in the end just hurt us more at the pump. All I hear from Obama is "Change", "Yes We Can", and "Hope", but no real sound solutions that are his or how he plans on doing them. Obama is about taxing.

    Bob Barr 08

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. JL

    Increasing supply ALWAYS lowers lowers the cost. Period.

    The cost of oil affects EVERYTHING in your life; fuel, things made from plastic, food, clothing, electricity; you name it.

    We need more oil NOW. We CANNOT just stop using oil in our everyday lives, no more so than we can just stop using food or water.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. TESAP

    McCain is the flip flopper or can't you see that. Offshore drilling ..... ummmm bad idea experts have stated this even Republicans are against it, except for Bush and McCain ofcourse.

    BARACK THE VOTE PEOPLE....................... 🙂

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. teri

    An Obama supporter and an eco-literate, I prefer – if we must, MUST, drill for oil, this nation's cancer, then off shore drill as opposed to destroying the integrity of terrestrial ecosystems, like ANWAR as man has obliterated so much of the land. Marine ecosystems are more vast and renewable.

    As Bush has been the most anti-Earth president in history, I believe Obama will be the superior gatekeeper of Earth. There is only one grave issue facing mankind - the protection and salvation of Earth's ecosystems, which also govern and moderate climate. Ecosystems are the living, physical body of Earth.

    McC represents the 50's worldview, which also represented Bush's thinking - or lack thereof. Obama possesses a higher level of consciousness and the superior intellect that will best address the issues facing America. Bush & McC are too brainwashed with the past to move us into the future and do not possess the mental muscle to even begin to comprehend the ecology of an ecosystem dependent Earth.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Nick

    The offshore drilling issue isn't as clear cut as many would have you believe. There is a chance that opening up the coasts will cause a decline in oil and gas prices immediately, if you subcribe to the school of thought that speculation in the futures market is the primary cause. However, opening the coasts for drilling will surely stifle our developments of alternative energy and only postpone the situation we are in now at best. I appreciate an appeal to free market economics, but the truth is a free market is only concerned with short and medium term profits. Some times it is nessesary for the govn't to step in and incourage long term societal progress, which (if anticipated for) can produce short, medium, and long term profits for corporations, shareholders, and conservatives from all walks of life.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Wal

    The democrats are right on this one for sure.
    Knowing the mechanisms of the global market, more oil is not the solution. The real solutions are more fuel-efficient cars, close Enron loopholes and invest in renewable energies here at home.
    By leading in this new direction more countries will follow and the influence of oil-dictators in Middle East on the global economic will be weakened.
    That is what is so important to make the oil become less relevant for the sake of our national security.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Crush Rush

    Enron McCain,this guy has more loops and holes than a dirt road.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. proud canadian

    you americans make me laugh. you fight and I do mean fight about everything. Forget the off-shore drilling you already have alot of platforms in the gulf doing absolutly nothing. Have you people actually thought of what may happen if a hurricane came through there? Oh and I think we should lower the production of oil in Canada since we are sitting on 187 billion barrels of it. We sell nearly 2 million every day to the u.s. I think we should cut that too and force the americans to stop playing with us on the lumber issue but that is not our style.

    Personnally I love being canadian and not having to always fight like the u.s. You should look into becoming a peaceful nation like us. That's why Obama is your man. I think that everything that happens to the states is just karma and sharron stone said it best but she forgot to look at her nation before looking at others.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Chuck

    Hey! Lisa:

    Hitting McCain about flip-flopping on the drilling issue is not considered "attack', "attack', "attack." It's about debating issues and oil drilling is an issue. Opposing views on issues is not construed as an "attack."

    I hope I've set you straight on that one and/or many others to come.

    June 23, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Tony

    Lisa, shut up. He said there would be no negativity on personal lives; they both agreed that it's perfectly fair to hammer each other on political issues such as this.

    You won't hear about McCain leaving his first wife while she was in the hospital in critical condition, but you WILL hear about his incompetent economic policies. Is that easy enough for you to understand?

    June 23, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Herb ohio

    McCain has been the senate how long? must have been to
    busy with the outsiders to do anything . anything anyone
    says anything he is for it........for a few day until someone is
    agisnt it........then he is aginst it whats up with that

    June 23, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. McCrazy

    Change was only his slogan to get the nomination. Now the slogan is, "dems who know what they are doing, please come help me"

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Upon Further Review

    Obama wins going away.

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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