August 4th, 2008
09:06 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama calls for tapping of strategic petroleum reserves

Obama will call for SPR release Monday, say aides.

Obama will call for SPR release Monday, say aides.

(CNN) - In an apparent policy shift, Barack Obama will call for the tapping of the strategic petroleum reserves Monday, backing a position taken by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders.

"What he will be calling for in his speech today is swapping out the light crude with the heavy crude, the heavy crude would replaced in the reserve at a later date so that we can get oil into the market. In the past when we’ve done this we’ve seen its demonstrated ability to help bring costs down and obviously consumers are suffering today. So he’ll be calling for that swap,” said the campaign’s energy policy director, Heather Zichal, in a conference call with reporters.

“Sen. Obama has looked at this issue, he recognizes that Americans are suffering, that we have a unique situation with rising gas prices and this is one occasion where we need to look at this strategically and he made the decision that we need to tap the strategic petroleum reserves.”

Obama last month said he did not think the country should use the strategic oil reserves "at this point."

"I have said and in fact supported a congressional resolution that said we should suspend putting more oil into the strategic oil reserve but the strategic oil reserve I think has to be reserved for a genuine emergency," he said on July 7.

The McCain campaign said Obama's move was strictly political, not sound policy. “Tapping the strategic oil reserve is not a substitute for a real plan to increase supply through additional drilling and nuclear power. The strategic oil reserve exists for America's national security strategy - not Barack Obama’s election strategy," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

"The last release of oil from the strategic reserve came in response to Hurricane Katrina, but the only crisis that has developed since Barack Obama last rejected this idea 28 days ago is a slide in his poll numbers.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Policy Shift = Flip Flop. Obama is just another politician with slightly better marketing.

    Teddy Roosevelt '08

    August 4, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Joe Average

    DuhFlipDuhFlop! Osama. Obama yo mama!

    August 4, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Cynthia

    This would help to bring the prices down right away. I like this better than McCain's once proposed tax holiday and the off shore drilling which won't produce any immediate results. The people need help right now.

    August 4, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Clinton/McCain

    Another policy shift? That's two in just as many days.

    August 4, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. PUMA 4 HILL

    Oh, a POLICY SHIFT – not another FLIP-FLOP? When McCain 'shifts' he's a flip flopper by CNN's definition, but when Obama 'shifts' it's a political shift. CNN, call it what it is – a convenient change, a flip flop, to benefit him in the polls.

    Down with Obama and the Media!!! WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. THIS WAS FIXED BEGINNING IN 2004 AND THE PROOF IS ALL OVER THE INTERNET. I can't really blame Obama, he's having the ride of his lifetime all at our expense.

    PUMA – hold strong and teach the DNC a lesson. No one dictates who we vote for. The Clintons were railroaded because everyone is scared of their power and their strength to do good.

    August 4, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Terry, from Butte

    As the oil debate heats up, as an american citizen, I would like to be well informed.

    I would like the press to show a map of where oil is currently being drilled in the US and off shore, also show where oil companies hold current leases where they can currently explore and drill both on and off shore, and show the protected areas on and off shore.

    This will help to inform the voters so they can make an educated and informed decision.

    August 4, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. scott

    Check the polls Obamanites! Maybe he isn't the THE CHOSEN one after all. Opening the reserves is not an energy plan-this is not change you can believe in.

    McCain/Newt 08

    August 4, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. J

    Enough talk about oil, I don't care anymore. Pease, cnn, talk about something else for once.

    August 4, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |

    Shouldn't the title be "Another Flip-Flop"?

    August 4, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Enlightened Voter

    A very sound idea Obama, something that will give us immediate relief and drop the gas prices. Of course mccain will attack that because he wants his oil buddies to drill, drill, drill even though that won't bring us any immediate relief. Another sound judgement from the newbie who continues to outsmarten the so called 'experienced' one.

    August 4, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. 57 states

    That is a total joke..........Glad to see he is on the same page as Pelosi.

    August 4, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Lola

    Whatever! is anyone listening to you Obama? I would like to go out to walk my dog rather than listen to your talks, blah blah blah blah.....keep talking blah blah blah.....

    August 4, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. C from Texas

    There is no reason to use our strategic oil reserves, this is insane. Why? if people can't afford to drive as much as they are use to then cut back on it. The reserves are there for a time of need not to make gas prices go lower, use it now then it won't be there when we really need it. If Obama is elected we are DOOMED. He's only saying what the people want him to say. Mr. Flip-Flopper Obama, what's next?

    Wake Up America.

    McCain '08

    August 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    Hey – what's with all the articles about Obama refining his message?

    McCain changed his mind a long time ago and he wasn't called out like this. Hell, he wasn't even called out on 1/10th of the flip-flops he has done, or the oafish demeaner he presents at every turn.

    Come on CNN – Oil Companies own you too? Don't print this, like you don't print most of mine. It's only Obama bashers that get posted over and over.

    August 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Janice


    August 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. NoMcSame(NoMrBurns)

    As a supporter of Obama I hope that he stands on this and not cave in this time. I have been seeing alot of that in the past weeks. If you don't stand for something you don't stand for anything, so I hope to see him stand on this issue.
    Obama is out their all by himself it seems to me. The Dems. need to speak up more and not let this thing get away from us or we will wind up with four more years of the same from McSame. McSame may be a good man but I don't want more of the same as Bush for the next four years. Time for a change. Fight fire with fire, it seems to work for them. Eight years of a C student drunk has cost us dearly.
    Obama08 American Dream

    August 4, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. v.a.

    get ready for the sleezy mccain machine to start crying

    August 4, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. RealityKing

    Liberal logic:

    Increasing oil supplies by drilling is a scheme and does not bring down gas prices BUT increasing oil supplies by tapping our strategic reserve does bring down gas prices.

    And we wonder why our over financed progressive education system is the laughing stock of the industrialized world???

    August 4, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    One Note Samba. Gas, gas, gas, gas.
    What a pity that American voters can't see beyond the next fill-up.
    Yes it is an issue, but it is not the only issue. (Given the level of intelligence by some of these bloggers, EDUCATION is more important than ever.) Any oil gained from off shore drilling is not going in your gas tanks any more than it is now. It will be sold to the highest bidders around the world.Like it is now. It won't be ours. It will belong to Exxon or Mobile or some other mega corporation.
    The Republicans are using smoke and mirrors on us again. They want us to stay ignorant. Do not believe them.

    August 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Ed

    ...and yet another flip-flop to add to Obama's flip-flop-o-meter. He will do/say anything to get elected. It's not working and the polls show that. CNN, in the interest if balanced reporting, please report today's Rasmussen poll, which shows that McCain now has a 1 point advantage over Obama including leaners. Of course, perhaps I may be asking too much to ask for fair and balanced reporting by the Obama Love Network.

    August 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Scott, Phoenix

    "In an apparent policy shift, (I.E.MORE FLIP-FLOPS) Barack Obama will call for the tapping of the strategic petroleum reserves Monday, backing a position taken by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders."

    He can't even come up with an original ideal but is now taking his cue from Pelosi, who is now off on her 5 week vacation without taking any actions to help the economy.

    August 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Vote Nader

    This is not a "genuine emergency". And how does this help long-term? I thought you wouldn't support anything that was strictly short- or mid-term relief.

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    August 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Obama 08

    There is a real stragety right there. When you add more supply into our economy, we can easily fill those reserves backup for alot cheaper in the future anyways.

    Good call Obama!

    August 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Vigla

    Here come more flip flopping charges... We already know tapping the reserve works because it worked in the late 90's. I'm glad Obama is considering it.

    August 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I respect a man that can look at a changing situation and has the ability to reconsider his position on it. Isn't that what most of us do on a daily basis? Unlike the current moron-in-chief that would "Stay the course".

    August 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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