August 2nd, 2008
02:21 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama says offshore drilling stance nothing new

If President Bush persuades Congress to lift the ban, oil rigs like this one off Canada will appear off U.S. shores.
If President Bush persuades Congress to lift the ban, oil rigs like this one off Canada will appear off U.S. shores.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama responded Saturday to criticism that he shifted his position opposing offshore oil drilling.

Obama said Friday that he would be willing to compromise on his position against offshore oil drilling if it were part of a more overarching strategy to lower energy costs.

"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama told The Palm Beach Post early into a two-day swing through Florida.

But on Saturday morning, Obama said this "wasn't really a new position."

"I made a general point about the fact that we need to provide the American people some relief and that there has been constructive conversations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate on this issue so I applaud them on that but I am not ready to sign off on any particular approach or proposal because I think these are very important issues," he said during a press conference in Cape
Canaveral, Florida.

Obama added: "What I will not do, and this has always been my position is to support a plan that suggests this drilling is the answer to our energy problems. If we've got a plan on the table that
I think meets the goals that America has to set and there are some things in there that I don't like then obviously that's something that you know I would consider because that's the nature of how we
govern in a democracy."

The senator from Illinois has railed against offshore drilling since Sen. John McCain in June proposed striking down the federal moratorium banning offshore oil and gas drilling to help alleviate high gas
prices.

"When I'm president, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida's coasts," Obama told reporters in Jacksonville
in late June. "That's how we can protect our coastline and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good."

Even as recently as Thursday, Obama refused to cede any ground, calling McCain's proposal "a strategy designed to get politicians through an election."

"It's not going to provide short-term relief or medium-term relief or in fact long-term relief. It won't drop prices in this administration or in the next administration or in the administration after that,"
Obama said while campaigning in Iowa.

But Friday, Obama admitted that something is better than nothing and praised a bipartisan energy plan from the Senate that combines alternative energy innovation, financial, nuclear energy and drilling proposals. He noted he is still skeptical about drilling's potential to lower gas prices or reduce dependence on foreign oil.

"The Republicans and the oil companies have been really beating the drums on drilling," Obama said in the interview with the Florida paper, "and so we don't want gridlock. We want to get something done."

The McCain camp was quick to applaud what they said was Obama's softening on the issue.

"It's clear that members of both parties are following John McCain's leadership toward an 'all of the above' approach on energy that includes nuclear, alternative energy, and offshore drilling," said a
McCain spokesman. "We hope Barack Obama will realize that his ongoing opposition to John McCain's realistic energy solutions and additional offshore drilling is wrong."

McCain's views on offshore drilling appear to match those of many Americans, according to another CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll out Thursday.

Just more than half of those polled said the ban on additional offshore drilling is a major cause of high fuel prices. The same number cite the Bush administration and the war in Iraq as causes.

The poll indicates that about two-thirds of Americans think U.S. oil companies and foreign countries that produce oil are major causes of higher gas prices.

One group gets relatively little blame. Thirty-one percent of those polled said the Democrats in Congress are a major cause of gas prices.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (413 Responses)
  1. randy

    Well it ok for clearity now everybody need to understand what barack obama is saying.and it really make on on point on this issue.the solution to lower gas price is the point obama is pointing at.and the suggestion that offshore drilling will lower gas price is not through it will take at least 10yrs to make it happen.

    August 2, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Sean from Orlando

    Just like he has defended every other lie, flip-flop, shift on stance on things like Bush policy such as this offshore drilling issue as well as wire-tapping. It is becoming very clear that Obama does not know what he stands for since he cannot pick a stance on a single issue and stand behind his stance. It seems like the only change that Obama knows anything about is how to change his mind on key issues. Since Obama has won and started to support Republican policy he is becoming more and more like a republican every day. He also has changed his tone on the War in Iraq, now phrasing his stance similar to McCain with things like "we cannot leave until the country is secure" just to name one. This stance leaves it open for Obama to decide to stay in Iraq as long as he wants to. Since Obama is slowly becoming the very first Democratic Republican nominee I think it is going to be very easy to vote for McCain in the fall. I am not a Republican, but at least McCain has been in a war, which is more than Obama (the freshman of the Senate) can say. The government has used our tax money for land to drill, if they think drilling will help the economy then they should drill there. Bush does not want to drill there because he knows oil companies have an interest in the areas off shore. China already drills off the coast of FL, this oil is not going to go to us or lower our gas prices at all. As we have seen, the gas prices go up and down even if we are not drilling and that is always going to be the case, I used to work at a gas station in college, this is just how it works. Obama has stake in a company called Exelon, and so if we were to drill he stands to gain. That is the only reason for this sudden shift and I think smart people are going to see right through his defense on this shift.

    August 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Republican voting for obama

    I am more convinced that when you want change. It is delivered. Barrack Obama will make a great president. One that is willing to help our great America become great and lead the world. We can achieve greatness as we were in the Reagan years. He will not permit offshore oil drilling to be a open bank for oil companies. They need to lower energy prices first to meet demand of the great citizens of this God Blessed country. We can achieve this. We need unity this time. Mccain and bush are the same...No more Bush policies. God Bless America. As for Puma, Get off your high horse, Republicans Love Obama more that HRC. If you diss your guy what makes you think the other 18 million obama voters will vote for hillary. Think responsibly. Dont be stupid!

    August 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. bimmer

    Obama's explanation:

    "I changed my posiion on oil drilling because I had a dinner with the king of flip-flopping, the Great John Kerry, last night. He never ceases to amaze me. His line 'I did not vote for it before I voted for it' still reverberates in my ear. Wow, what a greta line!"

    August 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Weepy

    ROBIN HOOD OBAMA!

    August 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Val from MA

    Is this guy serious? He is making a joke of himself.

    Sen. Obama, American people are not as dumb as you think they are. You may fool Europeans with your pretty speeches and your charisma, but NOT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. And we are proud to be the Americans!

    August 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. bin boozled

    Well at least he is smart enough to know when he made a mistake.

    That is the most important Wisdom.

    Look where being stupidly stuborn has gotten us.

    Bad Bush stuck in the mud of his own mind.

    Change is constant.

    August 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. SaveTheDramaFoObamasMama

    Bwahahahahaha

    Only the obamabots will buy his excuse for flip-flopping.

    He changed positions once again. Pure and simple.

    The obamabots are to stupid to realize it.

    What a joke this moron is.

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Cameron

    Barack,

    You're making it increasingly difficult for your supporters to defend you. How many Republican policies are you going to cave to in order to appease the conservative voters that probably won't pull the lever for you anyway? I've supported you from the first day that you threw your hat in the ring and even I am starting to wonder if I've made a mistake.

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Joe the Troll

    "If we've got a plan on the table that
    I think meets the goals that America has to set and there are some things in there that I don't like then obviously that's something that you know I would consider because that's the nature of how we
    govern in a democracy."

    Exactly. People elect a bunch of tough-talking "my way or the highway" type politicians and then wonder why nothing gets done.

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Raymond Duke

    Of course he is going to defend his flip– flop. The polls are showing that the majority of americans are for it. He blows like the wind. What ever direction is good at the time. It is funny John McCain reached this decision and made his stance before all the polls come out. Just shows you Obama's real character. Obama is with this like he was keeping his friends and then disavowing them at the time after they have did the damage for him. Like the last episode of having Hillary reffered to as an Irrevelant BI H. Yeah if I was a woman I sure would vote for him. He knows along with his friends how to keep you women in your place.

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Weepy

    WHAT'S THE MATTER? He IS the new Captain Marvel. Take from the rich-give to the poor. ROBIN HOOD OBAMA!

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. rafal

    Thirty-one percent of those polled said the Democrats in Congress are a major cause of gas prices.
    Wow what kind of americans did you poll? because i beileve they dont know what they are talking about.
    And Americans dont understand that the high oil prices are really a grunge agiasnt us from OPIEC because of how the Bush Adminstration is handling the war in Iraq.
    If americans vote in mcain I hope no one with the last name bush is in any cabinet of mcains......
    Go Barack!

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. bimmer

    Obama's explanation:

    "I changed my posiion on oil drilling because I had a dinner with the king of flip-flopping, the Great John Kerry, last night. He never ceases to amaze me. His line 'I did not vote for it before I voted for it' still reverberates in my ear. Wow, what a great line! What Great Politician! Michelle is advising me to do more Kerry than Hillary."

    August 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Wendy

    Glad Obama is willing to compromise in order to get a more comprohensive energy policy. Driling may not be the answer but as long as alternative energy stay's first and foremost it's not a bad compromise.

    August 2, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Jeffrey Eckman

    First the Republicans blamed the Obama campaign then they blamed Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress. I blame the two oil men who are sitting in the White House and kissing the hand of the extortionists in Saudi Arabia. Shame on people like Sean Hannity for pointing their finger at everyone but themselves. Are you still driving your Escalade Mr. Hannity??? Lets kill the environment so you can drive your gas guzzler. Shame on you Mr. Bush. for being such a fraud.

    August 2, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Weepy

    Flipping his CHANGE again?

    August 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Kevin

    This guy will say anything to get elected President, end of.

    August 2, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Garth

    Eons ago, politicians compromised on issues to get things done. In the past 16 or so years, the polarization of parties led to a 'my way or no way' policy that has lead us to the mess we are in now.

    When Senator Obama opens a dialog that offers the hand of compromise, both sides find fault with this. The rabid Democrats see it as conceding to the Republicans and shifting away from their long held beliefs that the Republicans are just wrong. The Republicans are viewing this as flip flopping and agreeing they are absolutely right.

    Both of these views are wrong. Senator Obama is compromising. Read that again, compromising. It is a new concept. He isn't conceding to the Republican view. In fact what he is saying is lets see who is right, within reason. If you want to drill, concede on alternative energies and other factors and then lets see.

    I happen to agree with the Senator that drilling will have no mid term or long term effects on prices. I believe it will have a short term effect because the oil companies will lower prices to make it look like it did. But it will be a sham and short lived.

    August 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Offshore drilling only pushes the energy problem onto our children and grandchildren! You can NOT deny it.
    Fuel from sugar cane in Brazil IS a success. America IS one of the top 10 sugar cane producers in the world! Removing the Import barriers for Brazilian ethanol, modelling production in the USA after Brazil, and tapping into the fuel energy from sewage and organic wastes would reduce the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
    Home and regional garbaration would supply enough methane to leave coal and offshore oil for future generations.

    August 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Blayze Kohime

    Saying you are willing to give a little to compromise is not the same as a policy shift people. Besides, McCain made a full policy shift from not supporting it to supporting it himself. McCain got tons of money from the oil companies upon doing that, of course.

    August 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. No Nos No Nos Moveran

    Lousy, filthy, dirty, lying, typical, pandering politician with a black flair.

    I love the beautiful people- don't you?

    It is okay if he is the worst of all duplicitous liar- he doesn't look like any of the other presidents on the dollar bill- so he is entitled to the presidency.

    Not convinced? You are nothing but a racist then.

    Didn't like Hillary and made fun of her in off-color sexual ways? That is okay... the media said so. Racism= bad. Sexism= fun and funny.

    August 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Franky

    "It's clear that members of both parties are following John McCain's leadership toward an 'all of the above' approach on energy that includes nuclear, alternative energy, and offshore drilling,"

    Whoa, whoa, slow down tough guy. Don't forget that even your own boy(McCain) opposed offshore drilling until every Rep out there approved of it. So, slow down tough guy, slow down. And you think why some Conservatives don't like McCain...

    August 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    yep

    August 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Tony Newark California

    The energy problem is complex. So, it's going to need a complex approach for a collective set of solutions working in unison to acheive an actual solution for making a difference in this country. Many simple minded individuals want or hope to find the single "silver bullet" answer to this complex question. Evidently Mr. Obama is not one of these simple minded individuals, as indicated by his expansion of ideas on the issue. However, Mr. Mccain seems to "preach" the single "silver bullet" solution approach that just happens to benefit the Oil Industry most.....what a coincidence.........

    Tony

    August 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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