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. Theresa

    There is something fishy with Barack's campaign. He keeps attacking McCain but he himself has tie to ethanol producers. Ethanol itself lower gas mileage. He wants to show-off that he's a better candidate with regards to energy issue but in fact he will cause it to worsen. Take a look at Brazil, people over there destroy & burn down rain forests so that they can be converted to sugar canes fields to produce ehtanol. Ethanol polute faster than fossil fuels by means of destroying forests, swamps, vegetable/fruit farms to be converted into corn/sugar cane/ palm oil fields. In conclusion, when he's elected president he's going to prioritize those who give the largest contributions (including his croonies) first rather than Americans' interests.
    The only matter that is going to be consider is how much money he will receive from contributors rather than on how to fix failing economy with almost $ 9 trillion deficit.

    June 23, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Nov loss

    I am really MISSING Hillary Clinton now.

    Bring her back and win in NOV.... otherwise suffer the consequences of the treachery and betrayal of swiftboating your best to advantage your worst candidate.

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Pot calling the Kettle…

    So I am an Obama supporter but I don't think now is the time to be calling McCain out on his change of heart. Last week Obama had his own flip flop with declining public financing.

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. North of the 49th

    WOW, the Republicans are out today. It must be because gas prices are so high they cannot afford to go anywhere, so lets chirp from the cheap seats about the only viable candidate, Sen Obama.

    Ryan, hmmm...please forward a mailing address so we can send you a calculator...18,000,001 still beats 18,000,000. Time to move on.

    Lisa, how much is Sen McCain paying you to blog? Hope its worth your gas money.

    Time to embrace change...

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. John McCain-McFlip-Flop-McBush is no "maverick"

    I recommend that Fiorina continue publicizing Mc Cain's agenda. Nothing like having a failed Hewlitt-Packard executive who left under a dark cloud to push your failed poilcies. And since when did the "facts' cause Grampy to change his position daily, sometimes hourly, depending on the audience he's speaking to?

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Tim in California

    McCain is trying to run away from Bush as fast as he can. The funny thing...the harder he tries to run...the closer is actually is to Bush.

    The reality for McCain and the not-so-smart people who support him....McCain is offering boiler plate republican BS when it comes to elections. Overall, McCain is offering short term, easy fix solutions to complex problems. This happens everytime there is an election that has a republican running. The really unfortunate part....the not-so-smart people seems to prevail in elections so we get quick fix problem solving....meaning nothing seems to ever change when the republican is elected. Look at McCain's mentor......Bush. He's been in office over 7 years and can anyone identify one single itme that could have masqueraded as energy policy.
    Fast forward to January of 2009 with a president McBush. Does anyone really have any faith that the republicans will do anything other than continue to rob the treasury, expose covert agents, wire tap fellow Americans and otherwise lie to the people about the meat grinder awaiting our military in the Middle East. the primary "advisors" used by the Bush Administration for foreign policy are sitting fat the McCain election committee including Rove, Wolfowitz , Pearl, Crystol and other of their ilk.

    oh ya... I forgot, McCain is a "maverick".

    One thing that can be said for McCain in his favor: If it wasn't for John McCain....they would have been called the Keating Four!

    If you like Bush...you'll love McCain.

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Greg. PA

    Big deal! He sees the writing on wall at $4 plus a gallon, that is destroying the basis of this economy. We need to explore, drill and become oil self sufficient in this country, period!

    June 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Ryan M.

    Looks like another case of Bush says and McCain agrees. Does he have opinion is his own? Or will he back anything that comes out of the White House like he did the war. We need change not more of the same old song and dance.

    June 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Michael, Torrance, CA

    Obama, it's easy to sit back and tell McCain how messed up he is. There are a lot of people that can do that. I don't see anything here about your plan for "change". That's all we ever hear from you is change, change change! Change to what? What's your plan Obama or do not have one. I think it's the latter!

    June 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Dean

    Why so much hate for Obama ????????????

    June 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. O Boy


    Again, the democrats continue to attack while offering no solution for themselves.

    I really like this quote
    "or the same, tired Washington gimmicks and special interest favors that have failed our families and country for too long," the Obama memo states.

    Funny how Obama mentions this since he got his start supporting HUGE tax breaks for corn Ethanol producers and high tariffs on sugar cane ethanol even though its 4x more effective....
    Critics have claimed this is one reason for the high food prices.
    How else could Obama have won Iowa????

    June 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. political teen

    barack obama is so much smarter , either stupid or filthy rich people support mccain, if barack obama does not win there is no justice in the world

    June 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Senator McCain has been flip flopping every since he won the Republican nomination. He is done this so much until at this point I'm not sure where he stands on the issues. So, maybe at some point before election time each candidate will give us clear and decisive answers on where they stand.

    June 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. BV

    I don't think that I can take another 4 months of this back and forth mumbo jumbo that is going on. I want these candidates to move forward and start talking about what they are really going to do for us, not what the other guy isn't going to do. Just start laying out their plans and sticking with them. What's going on just doesn't seem adult to me.

    June 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Spider

    Once again, Barack Obama attacks someone else's ideas as "old school", but fails to offer better or even new ideas. He is all about change, but cannot tell us how he plans on accomplishing this change.

    We, as a nation, HAVE to lessen our reliance on foreign oil. Yes, alternative sources of energy is the goal, but a long term goal. It will be decades before we can eliminate our need for oil, even if an alternative source of energy is developed this afternoon. Until then, we must find our own oil, or as much as we can.

    In 1999, gas was, what, $1.50 a gallon? Of course, everyone was against off-shore drilling. 2008 is an entirely different story.

    The "gas tax gimmick" is not a long term solution, everyone knows that. But, it might be a minor help, today, for people struggling to pay for gas to get to their minimum wage jobs or the unemployment office.

    Call these temporary solutions or pandering to the voter, but at least they are ideas. Obama just chides his opponents for "old politics, nothing new", yet gives no ideas of his own, temporary or long term.

    June 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Judith

    Hey McBush…..I just have two questions for you and your followers:
    1) Who in the world told you that the problem with oil is supply and demand??? If that’s the case why yesterday’s announcement from the Saudys that they will increase supply didn’t do anything to the price of the barrel of oil today? The problem with oil is speculation and Bush, Cheney, and yourself know it?
    2) Why aren’t the oil companies already drilling in the 87 MM of acres they already have available?

    Why am I asking you these questions? When you…yes you, McBush already admitted that you know nothing about the economy.

    June 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. David Axlerod = Karl Rove

    According to our new energy guru, Obama, Americans need to conserve our way to energy independence and enlightenment. Tighten the belts and pitch in folks. Just like Carter used to say, instead of turning up the heat during the winter "wear a sweater."

    I'm guessing $7/gal gas won't affect the Obama family very much.

    The rest of America? Let them eat cake.

    June 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Jai in PA

    We need a candidate with the courage to make the tough decisions regarding energy policy. More drilling is not the answer – we need real plans for alternatives to oil. Someone has to be brave enough to focus on changing the demand side, not the oil supply side. I'm waiting for that courageous candidate to stand up.

    June 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Sam

    I would hit McCain on offshore drilling too. The environment matters folks. It seems to me that Obama has done very well in only two weeks in contrast to McCain having had four months of ease to make his case. I really hate the biased blogging.

    June 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Carolyn

    For all the Hillary followers who say that will vote for McCain, just remember if Hillary runs again (maybe) in 2012. You guys are "still" going to need Obama's supporter to get her nominated. So I advise you to vote for Obama. So if you think you are going to hurt Obama by voting for McCain because Hillary didn't get the nonimation. Just think about her never getting a chance to president if you did that. We won't forget that you betrayed the Democatic party.

    June 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Obama-Junkie, IL

    How does McCain propose America to "take control of our own energy future"? America has only 2 or 3% of the world's oil reserves but consumes 25% of the world's oil reserves!

    Why are folks consume with debates between Obama and McCain in June of 2008?! The general election is Nov. 4th! By the time the general election comes around we will have had 5 or so debates!

    The debates are coming and once America gets to witness John McCain at 71 years old (doesn't know how to used computer) debating Barack Obama at 46 years old (familiar with Internet neutrality), the choice will be clear!

    Obama in 08!

    June 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Media fest for Obama

    I love Obama's smile.

    But I will not vote for him in NOV because he is the worst and most hateful and least qualified to candidate to ever make it this far.

    Geri was right. He needs to remind people he is black and play the race card in order to win. No one but a black man would have been installed as nominee over a TRUE AMERICAN LEADER such as Hillary Clinton.

    America you mocked your own ideals of fair campaigns, fair elections and unbiased press. You forgot about justice and equality. You forgot about qualifications and character. You went with race for political correctness.

    June 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Phil, FL

    Anybody in here divorced?

    Flip-Flop on your promise to spouse in front of God and Man?

    Think before you label.

    June 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Ted

    I see the radical right is very concerned that this election may be over before it has begun.

    'Bama 08!

    June 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Dave in Houston

    The oil companies have 68 million acres of leases of federal property (both land and offshore) that they've never drilled on, and 10,000 licenses that they've never used.

    The big oil companies are just using the current panic in oil markets as an excuse to do yet more land-grabbing. Evidently, this ploy is making John McCain give up his principled stand on opposing offshore drilling.

    But, as I've said for a while, John McCain can be persuaded to change his mind at the point of a pen - a big, fat, donation-writing pen, that is.

    June 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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