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. Chad, Wisco

    And for those of you who think oil isnt about supply and demand you are wrong. The Saudis control the supply and we are no longer the top on the demand totem pole. Until we control one or the other, preferrebly supply, we will continue to see escalated prices. The Saudis increase will all go straight to China who will pay any cost to get all the oil they can.

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. clinton supporter's


    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    The real issue here is not that the McCain of 2000 is unrecognizable today, but that off-shore drilling will not produce anything for 5 years at the minimum and will only amount to a few cents per gallon. It is most telling that the governments and people of the two states that would be most affected by off-shore drilling, Florida and California, are strongly opposed to it. How would you like to have the oil companies drill on your shore line, or failing that, drill in your back yard? It is time, and too long over due, for a serious committment to alternative energy.

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Independent LAWYER for Obama

    I don't have a problem with politicians changing their minds if new information comes to light or a situation worsens, but I HATE the offshore drilling idea. Ruining our coastline is NOT going to help the economy.

    At least Schwarzenegger is willing to stick up for CA – here in FL Crist just flip-flopped on the issue because he is so far up McCain's rear end.

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. John McCain-McFlip-Flop-McBush is no "maverick"

    Keep sending Carly Fiorina out to remind everyone of the dark cloud she left over Hewlitt-Packard. Nothing like having your agenda publicized by a failed executive; one of many on the McCain campaign staff along with the lobbyists with ties to foreign dictators and warlords.

    I have a question for Ms. Fiorina: Since when do the "facts" cause a candidate to switch his position depending on the audience he's speaking to?

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Common Sense

    There is nothing wrong with someone changing their mind on an issue 8 years down the road, especially as the situations regarding the issue have changed. If this is the worse that the Obama camp can come up with regarding McCain, they're going to have a tough battle leading up to November.

    June 23, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Brian for a Patriot


    Barack = RAISING TAXES TO THE POINT OF LOSING COMPANIES, NOT putting US Security as a high priority (his only priority is to say anything to get elected), NOT WILLING (SCARED) TO DEBATE

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Rashawn the leftist like President Obama

    And also!, you PUMA people are ridiculous. But, if you choose not to vote for Obama because of that, so be it. The republicans voting for Bob Barr will cancel you out anyways and we still win! Go AWAY PUMA! GO AWAY!

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Shasta

    For one, Obama is more slamming McCain's energy stance than his flip flop. He is only mentioning the flip flop because it fits his key point of McCain cares most of all about the vote.

    McCain is calling Obama's flip flop to light because he has NOTHING ELSE to hit him with, because Hillary took care of that during the primary. Almost makes me wonder if she and Obama had a pact worked out.

    Regardless, I would rather have a flip flop that doesn't waste the taxpayers' money than a flip flop that destroys more of the environment and doesn't do anything to solve the actual problem, our dependency on oil as a fuel source. For all of those who say Obama doesn't have a plan, he does, and it's the ultimate plan for a long term fix- find an alternative fuel source in abundant supply, such as solar or wind power. The sun won't run out as quickly as the oil supply in the nation, and how wonderful would it be for the rest of the world to not have a stranglehold in the form of a barrell of oil on America?

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. AF soldier

    How was hillary robbed again?? Get over it, Obama recieved more votes than she did, if those superdelagates would have chosen Hillary, would you say the same thing that she was selected not elected?

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Belle2

    Okay, Obama, you are not going to offer gimmicks. What are your solutions? How do you solve the problem? While gimmicks are not the answer, the problem will not be solved by your proclamations that you will offer real answers and genuine relief. You need to tell us what you will do. I am tired of innuendo and dirty politics-and that means you Obama. Tell us what you will do or take your podium and go back to the mean streets of Chicago.

    PS: Your complexion is not the problem; your problem is that you have no experiperience and no record on which you can be judged, you change your mind so often you do not appear to believe anything-not Muslim, not Christian until 20 years ago then attended anti-American church, then denounced by degree (as it was politically expedient) that church and pastor-and you offer no real solutions.

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Will in Richmond, VA

    Calculated severe attacks made on McCain. Don't underestimate how tough and ruthless Obama can be.

    McCain's inability to actually utter the words, "you know what, based on this current situation, I've changed my mind" will be his undoing.

    Changing one's mind. Is it political suicide?

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Country before party

    This article, Obama's 143 Days of Senate Experience, by Cheri Jacobus is funny. Obama and our nation is getting more and more ridiculous.

    "Just how much Senate experience does Barack Obama have in terms of actual work days? Not much.

    From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

    After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan.

    143 days - I keep leftovers in my refrigerator longer than that.

    In contrast, John McCain's 26 years in Congress, 22 years of military service including 1,966 days in captivity as a POW in Hanoi now seem more impressive than ever. At 71, John McCain may just be hitting his stride."

    Obama was not even in the Senate, having no access to the Iraq intelligence papers about WMD, when he make the speech about Iraq in 2002. The guy has been a serial liar since.

    June 23, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Tom

    McSame is so wrong for this country. Its time for real change not the same OLD policy of the past

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Peggy - Tx

    RE: Ryan – Your statement is absurd as Hillary was not robbed of the election, she lost the election fair and square-you are living in a fantasy world. Obama was elected per rules setup before the primary started and rules agreed to by Hillary.

    RE: Lisa – Truthful criticism of your opponent such as pointing out where McCain has made major changes in position is not what is generally considered “negative” campaigning. Obama is running a very positive and uplifting campaign. If he was talking about McCain wife’s drug history, or how McCain dumped his first wife, then that would be negative campaigning.

    RE: Rachel, – As the front runner, Obama should pick where and when he wants to debate and direct the format of the debates. He is under no obligation to generate free TV time for McCain, who is strapped for cash.

    Republicans are desperate as reflected in the comments from supporters – nothing substantive of on real issue, rather just a bunch of whiney crybabies.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Generation X

    I for one can not wait for Obama to debate McCain. You republicans are just too funny. Just wait; lets see who flip-flops in the debates. My money will be on McCain.

    @Lisa; no Obama will not stop attacking, he nows how the Republicans operate and guess what....NOT THIS TIME.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. DJ Achieves

    Is this the same Carly Fiorina that was FIRED from the company Hewlett Packard for executive ineffectiveness?

    She clearly knows more than McCain but how has she earned this position through performance?

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Ron

    All you winers here should stop complaining about Obama. He is running a campaign of change. And that means a change from the old Campaign Finance that does not work to the new campaign finance where you have millions of small donors. That is a change to the positive. McCain on the other hand has been taking money from rich donors in the millions of dollars. You are all mistaken if you think those rich donors are giving money to McCain and not expect anything in return!!! Obama does not accept money from lobbyists or PAC where as McCain is. So, Obama is keeping his promise of bringing change to Washington. A change that will make us people have a say and not the big lobbyists.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Obama is trying to attack Mccain because he's old. He would have never been able to attack Hillary like that, she would have let him have it.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Change?

    If this is change...

    bring back the washington insider Hillary Clinton.... I want more of the same.

    This unity looks like agitating hate to gut your opponent.

    This new hope stinks of sleazy, underhanded, race baiting that divides and conquers by skilfully using the media to spread your lies.

    This change smacks of the propaganda that gets Youth to turn into hateful SS HITLER youth.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Tristan Alexander


    It is good that he attacks. It shows strength in leadership. He is not making the same mistake that Sen. Kerry made last time. You can run a positive campaign and still attack at the same time. It just depends on what you are attacking about. We do not need a weak "take it all" and not do anything about it leader.

    June 23, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Go get "Mr. Comb-Over", Senator Obama!

    June 23, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. venue

    Anyone electing not to vote...its your choice..however if the country goes to pots you can proudly say " my non-vote did that" so dont complain about gas prices or anything else.. Man-up make a true vote.

    June 23, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Barack's Right

    McCain a good leader? You think? Well, a worse leader is one that follows in lock-step with a proven bad leader–George Walker Bush. The polls say 82% of the country thinks we're going in the WRONG direction. Earth to McSame.

    McSame has the very same policies and ideas of GW because he doesn't have any of his own. It's not his fault, he's just tired and needs to retire.

    Obama 08

    June 23, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Rick FL

    Obama is absolutely right to question McCain's flip-flop on offshore drilling, adopting another failed Bush policy.

    Biden was spot on to point out the over 40 million acres in offshore leases already available to these oil companies. They are using the GOP to manipulate the public into giving more environmental space to perpetuate an oil addiction, instead of pursuing an active alternative energy plan and drilling the space they currently have.

    Since the article is already closed, I would also add that Biden is great choice for VP or Secretary of State.

    Dem '08

    June 23, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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