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. Allan

    I like Obama. He is great. His vision,His judgment, is great.When i look at my avto tire i think about my new president Barry Obama. "thanks" God for Obama. I will vote for him becouse I am white and If i will vote against him i will call racist. God please help me not be racist. His race card very smart play. It make avry white people fell guilty if they don't vote for KING obama.

    August 2, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. JK

    Keep up Barack. you're the future o the american people , the ultimate measure of a leader is not where he stands in time of comfort and convinience but where he satnds in moments of challenge and controversy. Ultimately you are the leader the american people need .KUDOS BARACK

    August 2, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Matt

    Obama the Flip-Flopper – where is Hillary – WE NEED HER! I hope all fellow democrats see this guy as the politician he said he wasn't. There is nothing new about him. Change is not the answer. Hillary was about making the system work for US. Another win for the Democrats down the tube...next we'll find out this liar is taking money from Lobbyists. Oh wait, he already does.

    August 2, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. obama is unfit to be president of this country

    obama is such a liar.

    August 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. JK

    Keep up Barack. you're the future of the american people , the ultimate measure of a leader is not where he stands in times of comfort and convinience but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy. Ultimately you are the leader the american people need .KUDOS BARACK

    August 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. LMC

    In other words, " I don't know where I stand, but I'll wait and see if someone else says something that sounds good, and then I'll say that's always been my position. Let me know when we have a qualified candidate.

    August 2, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Jatovi, NC

    McCain has actually flip/flopped on topics over and over and there is no big deal with it. Take for instance McCain flat out lied recently saying he fought for the MLK Jr holiday in his state even though the record shows he was very out spoken against it. Silly season has become even worse this time around.

    August 2, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Tejano

    Flip Flop Flip Flop....

    Why should we believe anything he says. He will say anything to get elected.

    August 2, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. wilfred

    This is a very bright thinking , I do think he is on the right channel.
    Keep it up Barrack. The American people love you and will always. dont allow wicked distractors to sway your good intensions

    August 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. sue calgary

    WHERE IS MY COMMENT CNN??????

    August 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. sandy

    the oil drilling poll isone sided . i believe if asked if big oil should use what is already been leased or they lose them. you would have the same results, but then like congress, the media are tied to the oil lobby not to mention drug companies as they are some of your biggest advertisment revenue.

    August 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. S W

    This again shows Obama has no convictions, just says what people want to hear, and America is drinking him up.

    August 2, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Aaron Williams

    When you people figure out the two party system is two sides of the same coin, the sooner we can take this country back from the claws of Corporatism aka Fascism. You might see minor policy changes, but it's business as usual on the Hill. Your only choice for change is picking a lesser evil. Like choosing between Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Both of them are slime that crawled out from the underneath the skirt of the Military Industrial Complex, your real masters. Welcome to the machine, consumer slaves.

    August 2, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. of course it is the answer

    just say "sorry" and declare "everbody's equal" and everything's hunky dory?

    who do you think you're fooling?

    August 2, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. wct

    Is that the change that you can believe? Obama keeps on changing his plans !?!?!?

    August 2, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Joe

    That's excellent. He's willing to compromise. Something congress should learn to do.

    August 2, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Lisa

    Obama tied with Mccain in the Gallup Poll

    Change we can all believe in!!!

    Hillary 08

    August 2, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. bill for barack

    I don't care who advocates for it, all the off-shore drilling in the world still will not put one drop of gasoline in my tank before I retire.
    What's the point ?

    August 2, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Sean

    This is not a flip-flop. Obama clearly stated that he still opposes offshore drilling. The recent comments he made were that while he still opposes it, drilling may need to be a compromise made with Republicans in order to achieve the greater goal of energy reform. This is not a difficult concept to grasp.

    Or, in Obama's own words, he doesn't want "the best to be the enemy of the good". If we can be better off overall through compromise than we would be if we stubbornly refused to budge on our positions, then compromises need to be made when necessary.

    A flip-flop is saying that Bush's tax cuts are reprehensible, and then later saying that you support them whole-heartedly as McCain did. Being open to compromise however, is not a flip-flop.

    August 2, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. reperation is the only right answer

    not the cheap "sorry" and "declaration of equality" in paper,

    which doesn't change a thing in reality.

    August 2, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. sue calgary

    Obama do not get into arguing and debating McCains "Smear Tactics". You were correct when you said during the primaries that winning the primaries and indeed getting elected is going to be tough! It seems to me that "fear" may unfortunately triumph over your message of "change". Keep getting out your message and it is left to the American people to pick their leader in November. My motto is 'you get what you deserve". If the choice is frail, old bungling McCain who has no new ideas or new policies, who looks frail and weak and is not very eloquent, then so be it! I know you, Michelle and the girls will be okay no matter what! Nuff said...

    CNN POST THIS

    August 2, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Jon

    Why do we always point fingers when this question comes up? Why do we not consider ourselves at fault for the problem? At least, in part? We are the consumers; we are the ones who do not carpool; we are the ones who drive everywhere, refusing any other form of transportation. And yet, we never (nor CNN) consider our OWN CONSUMPTION as a cause for high prices! How foolish we are.

    August 2, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. interesting

    Latest flip flop b/c the polls are tied. Wow! What a chameleon, he is not white or black he is BLANK!

    August 2, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Steve Harrison

    If he had just said that instead of demonizing republicans as schemers,then we wouldn't be having this discussion now would we. It was a flip-flop and Dems know it.No where in his speach the other day did he even hint at compromise instead we saw a politician pandering to thier brainwashed er I mean card carrying party members to,But don't worry Dems McCain does it too.

    August 2, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Lori

    This guy can use more words to say NOTHING than anyone I've ever known.

    Poser, phony, liar, FAKE.

    What, REALLY, does everyone see in BO?

    August 2, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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