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. Patrick Henry

    Well Mr. Obama–what other options are being considered for the people who need to commute.

    Hybrid cars are lovely–but way too cost prohibitive for working families who'll being driving "newer" used gas vehicles for the next 20 years or more. Electric options are even in production. The energy companies aren't as sure it would take so long to recover oil from those areas–because it's not exploration–they know where the oil is and it's mapped out.

    The Congress–and this man–will squeeze the industry into compliance–innovation by increasing fuel costs beyond the reach of the avearage consumer–and reminding us it's time all of us tightened our belts. Thanks Mr. Obama–do you and your 3 car family drive economy cars to take the girls to their soccer practices?

    What a vapid administration this man will bring. Socialism sucked in every nation where it's been tried. Why do so many idiots want to recreate histories failures in America.

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. gastoys

    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."

    Obama! Hello, are you there?! You voted for a Holidy Gas Tax Relief before, but since Hilary ahd McCain beat you to the punch it's not good now. Obama the Flip Flopper!

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Rob

    this is so stupid. Obama is representing everything he told the people he would fight.... such a non-sense man...

    please bring Hillary back!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Angus McDugan

    Obama is running on vapor (positive change), and has cut off a very big slice of business to handle. This is like saying that I am running on apple pie and motherhood. It sounds good but what are you going to do? Where is the plan? We do not know who this guy is or what he stands for. As soon as he hit a bump in the road, he threw his church, pastor, and friend for 20+ years in the ditch. A man of no conviction except for winning the election, but well educated.

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. David in Dallas

    You know, I'm an Obama supporter and I certainly don't want McCain elected. However, I don't think it's a crime to change position on a subject, especially in light of recent developments.

    I hate how much so-called "flip-flopping" accusations have become a campaign staple. I don't want an elected official who did all his thinking 30 years ago and hasn't updated his thinking since then.

    The flip-flop accusation always has been and always will be a red herring. If there's a good reason for a policy shift, even if the reason is a nod to prevailing American sentiment, then it's not accusation-worthy.

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    When McCain supported keeping the drilling ban in 2000, gas was about $1.25. Now it's over $4.00. Obviously conditions have changed, so what's wrong with recognizing the situation as it is? This isn't a flip-flop. However, Obama stating that he would accept public financing just a few months ago, and now reneging IS a flip-flop. Nothing has changed in those months. He says the system is broken, a claim denied by other Democrats. How is it that it wasn't broken when he made his commitment, but now it is? Junior isn't ready for prime time!

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. rw md

    Obama is such a joke.
    He doesn't have an answer for anyrhing.
    The fact that he let's a looser like Bill Richardson campaign
    for him shows me that.
    My man James Carville had it right when he called him
    a Judas.

    June 23, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Concerned teacher

    I don't think he is attacking negatively. He is pointing out McCain's energy policy and how he has changed it. This is much different from attacking someone personally. He has to be on the offensive but he is doing so on real issues which is what we have been waiting for.

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. woman over 60!!!

    the republicans are good at dividing our country!!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Joe Johnson

    People we all flip flop because we learn from experience or new information. I would never vote for one arrogant enough to stick to one position when circumstances and common sense says to flip.

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. If not Hillary....then McCain

    Didn't Wolf Blitzer just have a commentary on "What's wrong with changing your Mind?

    Oh, that's right, That was just for Obama's flip-flop on public financing.

    Circumstances change people! Incidentally, it was reported this weekend that OPEC is looking to see if they need to release more oil to meet demand. That has only been since McCain and Hannity have come outstrongly about drilling our own oil!

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Brian for a Patriot

    Hey, Barack you always say while you read your exciting speeches that this or that is a Debate you would like to have with John McCain. Well? Where's the guts to debate McCain?

    You seem a little afraid to actually get into an unrehearsed environment without all your cronies setting the stage for you. Where you might actually be asked tough questions about tough problems and you will need to come up with real solutions. We know your idea of solving the problems we are having is to not drill anywhere and to task the hell out of the companies trying to at least extract oil for us. By the way drilling for oil, is not like making a crop of wheat, there is a lot of hit and miss and a great deal of cost invovled in finding and extracting oil.

    As a courtesy to the American people, we need to learn more about you Barack, as McCain has defined himself as a Maverick and a Patriot.

    The American people need to learn about how you willl tax the hell out of all of us, so they can be better informed before they decide to NOT vote for you.

    Wakeup and realize that you Barack are applying for a job where you will be working for us, not the other way around, and part of the interviewing process is DEBATES!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Adam Damiano

    Barack Hussein Obama knows nothing about economics. He is an empty suit who should stick to pre made teleprompter speeches about hope and change in front of mindless drones

    June 23, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. play the race card again

    Gotta love Obama...the new type of politician

    He played the race card so successfully (while claiming they never played the race card) against Hillary Clinton to eliminate her from the race... that he is now using the exact playbook and strategy in the GE against McCain.

    Obama's premise is that since he is black and running for president he is entitled to BE president.

    Any candidate who dares to campaign against him- be it HRC from his own party or McCain from the Republican side- IS RACIST just for daring to run against him.

    And... any voter who votes against Obama is likewise a racist for not making Obama the first black president.

    Gotta love the audacity and arrogance of that position.

    And, once again the media won't call him on the race baiting.

    June 23, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Micheal man

    The people on this forum are funny!!! Are you saying he shouldn't question Mccain's positions on offshore drilling? If he does he is attacking Mccain?

    I find this country incredibly funny sometimes...here is a republican who has no idea how to solve your economic issues and who proposals litteraly say "Don't worry everything will fix itself" a republican who adopts every policy of Bush that you didn't agree with and that has you bogged down in Iraq and has created skyrocketing unemployment! What choice is there for you? Maybe you guys enjoy economic suffering, maybe you enjoy the fact that the world is beginning to hate you!

    June 23, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Chad, Wisco

    And what exactly is your proposal Obama? I hear you complaining about all these problems and promising change, where are your ideas? At least McCain shares his thoughts, you just complain about how hard and wrong everything is. If thats all it takes to be President maybe I should run.

    June 23, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. What do YOU know

    Facts on the ground like say, for example, that this drilling will not produce any usable fuel for about 5 years?

    June 23, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. PG

    Carly Fiorina argued that "a good leader is influenced by the facts on the ground."

    What a joke!

    And by the way McCain is now offering a "reward" for asomeone to come up with a battery? Man, this guys is really off his rocker!

    It is sad to see how many people believe this guy and want this guy in the white house. "Dumbness to its max!"

    June 23, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. The Other Campaign Strategist from 115th & Amsterdam Ave

    Obama's approach is intellectually honest ... there is no way that McCain's suggestion of opening new leases offshore has ANY relevance to solving America's energy crisis over the next 5 to 10 years.

    McCain's it is relevant to Big-Oil-funded Polictical Action Committees and 527 Political Organizations getting their quid-pro-quo. They fund the attack groups to make up for McCain's campaign funding shortfall. That's what this suggestion from McCain is about ... it has NOTHING to do with solving $5 per gallon gasoline.

    June 23, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. JB

    All the supply people need to realize aned understand that the price of oil has doubled in the past year, yet the supplies and demands have barely shifted in that time.

    It is pure market manipulation (look up the Enron Loophole) causing the price increases and you can't drill your way out of that. I guess McSame really doesn't understand economics.

    June 23, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Rashawn the leftist like President Obama

    Are you guys kidding me???? If Obama does not attack McBush then the repub's will do the same thing they did to John Kerry in 2004. Kerry waited too long to respond to the attacks by Bush and people bought in to the fear mongering lies that Bush brought up. I do not blame President Obama to attack. He did not attack Hillary because she's in our party.

    And Ryan, someone is robbed the nomination when they won more states and more delegates and isnt the nominee. Take the four delegates back, we'd still have the nomination. Stop being bitter!

    I am proud of what Obama is doing and hopes he continues all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania ave!

    June 23, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. Kenneth M


    June 23, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. play the race card again

    I guess the new type of politician is the same old pandering, hypocritical one but now an even more reckless, ruthless, liar that plays the race card and creates division while pretending to be for hope and unity and change.

    June 23, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Watching from sidelines

    Flip flopping is not a bad thing when you realize circumstances have changed and you change you mind because it's the better decision.
    Why would anyone stick to a decision already made and you know it's not the best one once you are no longer ignorant of the facts? Life is full of decisions. Sometimes we have to change for the better one. THAT SHOW LEADERSHIP ! !

    June 23, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. jason anderson

    More dependance on oil, extending bushes tax cuts for the wealthy which was once against his conscience, 100 years of war and oh yea recently he thinks we'll be out iraq by the end of his first term too???? when in essence he knows he's only gonna run or win one term IF he wins. Who's the big flip flopper here??? MCBUSH

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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