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. CL OT

    What will it be next week. This guy is a follower not a leader.

    August 4, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Dan , TX

    Why all the argument against common sense?

    August 4, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. proud army and navy mom

    that is the dumbest idea I have heard......This coming from the boy who said a gas tax is a short fix. I have counted 3 flip flops this weekend alone.

    McCain 08

    August 4, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Major Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The energy crisis cannot be resolved by robbing Peter to pay Paul. America needs to accelerate and develop alternative energy sources, something they should have done yesterday.

    August 4, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Yan, Minneapolis

    When it comes to election, you Repubs have six Gs: God, Gay, Gun, Gambling, Gynecology, & Greed. But you got another this time, and that is insulting women in your "proud of that commercial" & "Drill this, Drill that "ads. If you McSame supporters like the Cheney secret "Energy policy", then go adhead, embrace your oil man in the White House and Mr. McShame. Pay for your higher gas price at the pump and stop whinning about it!!

    August 4, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. B J

    Wait a minute. I thought it was the speculators that caused the high gas prices and increasing supply wont change anything.

    Obama 08 Changing my mind at every turn to get elected.

    August 4, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Sacto Joe

    FINALLY! This energy issue has been out there for WEEKS!

    COME ON, Obama campaign! GET OFF THE DIME!

    August 4, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Michelle, PA

    So the main result of the 2004 Swift Boat campaign is that now no politician is ever allowed to change his or her mind?

    Seems we've had 7 1/2 years of a guy in the White House who wouldn't change his mind. Look where that's gotten us.

    Remember that old definition of insanity, folks: A person who keeps doing the same things the same way expecting different results.

    August 4, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Reality Check

    This is a good idea. I hope he stick to this issue and make sure it gets all the way.

    August 4, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Obama-Junkie, IL

    All you people are idiots.

    August 4, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Brian

    Flip-flopper! He's all but filp-flopped on oil drilling too, just as Republicans predicted.

    August 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Super D

    Obama"s so called enegy plan offers no drilling. Pathetic as he and his shamefull party, the DemoRATS.

    Tapping the SPR is for dire consequences only, not for a price adjustment.

    I cannot believe there are Americans just dying to vote for this guy. All they are going to get is high taxes, and an empty fuel tank. What's that going to get you? The respect of Germany? Who cares!!

    Where as, you say you are going to drill.....what happens?? The speculators you love to hate are going to speculate that in the future there will be higher supply, therefore price goes down immediately.

    Throw the useless Do Nothing Democrats out! Pelosi, Reid and Obama are poster childs for imcompetence!

    August 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Sensible Cape Coral Fl

    I have no problem with a canditate who is intelligent and objective enough to reconsider a position as circumstances alter the situation. Some call it fip-flopping. I call it intelligence!

    August 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. William, from Cali!

    Seems the only constant, with these candidates is "flip-flop"...........

    August 4, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. va

    Obama 08, Now as for the flip flopper charges. MMMM lets see MC Tales of the Crypt man was against torture, was against drilling, was against tax cuts, was against DR. Kings holiday, was against negative compaigning, against troop withdrawal from Iraq, against sending troops to afhgan, against taking out terrorist in pakistan that are crossing the border. Now he is for everyone of these ideas. No one calls him out. He just a savvy politicians. I have one question for all of McCain supporters. He has been in the congress for over 26 years. This energy crisis has been going on since 1976. What bills has Mc Cain put forth on this issue? I ask you all to think , 26 years and has yet to put anything forward on this issue. This is why we need a change in politics and the media. Because a reporter needs to ask him what has he done since he came in as a house member he has done dor enegry. OBAMA 08 I can feel coming in the air.

    August 4, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Neo-Con Logic:

    Start a debate about drilling for more oil, while the oil companies play with gas prices and sit on 68 million acres that they can drill on at any time.

    If the whole argument is about increasing supply, why don't the oil companies drill on the land they already hold a lease for? They know there is oil there! Answer: It's not about supply. It's about land. They want to free up as much land as possible while Jr. and shooter are still in office. That way they can manipulate supply as they see fit to keep bringing in record profit.

    August 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. John Zeger

    I don't think Obama knows where he stands on any issue from one moment to the next.

    August 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Jay

    Mccain is propposing domestic drilling, clean coal, nuclear power, biofeuls, conservation, electric cars, wind, solar, tides and other alternative sources......basically, all of the above solution to tacke this serious energy crisis.

    Obama's proposal is to knock down domestic drilling, put 90% of his eggs in the ethanol basket, promote pumping billions into a governement bueracry for research and development with no ROI. Tap our strategic reserves and put air into your tires.

    Seriously, who's got the political expediency solution? and who's got the comprehensive urgent solution? You don't have to be a dem, a repub or an independent to want to tackle this serious issue. It is obvious that Mccain's solution is the one that is rational, balanced with a great sense of urgency that fits the crisis!

    BTW, france is building nuclear plants. Brazil is beginnign to drill off their coasts. Mexico is drilling off their coasts. Russia is rushing to drill off the alaska coast line. China and cuba are partnered up to drill off the coast of florida. The world is laughing inside watching this debate. don't go and deman middle eastern countries to pump more if you are not willing to do the same. Its one thing to be dump and irresponsible. Its another thing to be dumb, irresponsible and a hyprocrit!

    August 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Jamarr

    As far as a racist Bill Clinton should not be in the same sentence with the word. However he is as many of you all that are posting comments mislead by the politics of today. Many things he did say politically motivated as they were had racial over tones to them the "Jesse also won S.C" remark the " he can't beat John McCain" remarks they both have to do with a basic "because he's black" overtone which we all know at the time why it was said. It was said to get the white Americans on his and his wife side. However "all americans" are smarter then that. We are alot smarter then media and cynics give us credit for lol! GO OBAMA and also to anyone who says Barack has used any race cards its so far from the truth and us intelligent people, the same ones that voted for Barack after the Clintons failed attempt and being divisive are more hip to game.

    Lets come to gether as a nation please and stop the rhectoric

    August 4, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Chuck, Euigene Oregon.

    That is the only fast way to bring it down, however, no matter what we do, If we are to become self sufficient when it comes to energy we will need to build more refineries. Additionally we must develope alternative sources of fuel and energy. Corn is not the best method, where as sugar cane has already proved to be economical as well as more environmentally friendly. We need to get real and honest with ourselves about this and stop putting the blame on others as well as other countries. We made our bed so to speak, now it's time to get a new bed and be much wiser in how we make it.

    August 4, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. no to obama

    The reserves are not there for when prices go up. The reserves are there for true emergencies where we are unable to get oil any other way. This is not a solution by any stretch of the imagination. As soon as the Democrats namely Harry and Nancy let votes happen on drilling we will see prices go down since we would be telling the world that we are serious about going after our own oil.

    August 4, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. World Angel

    I'M CONVINCED THAT OBAMA DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE AS TO IMPLEMENTING ANY OF HIS IDEAS OR PLANS THAT HE HAS PROPOSED. He's the greatest IDEALIST I've ever known. He knows and says everything we want to hear about CHANGE, but I've noticed before it's said and done, it results right back to where he started from. I THINK WE (OBAMA Supporters) SHOULD TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT WHAT WE ARE ABOUT IT GET INTO.

    August 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Felly

    This is a brilliant idea for a short term relief while Obama works on the alternative long term strategy. For those of you Republicans and morons who are naive and think that this is not an emergency situation to warrant tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve, you need to think twice. If you claim that such decisions are made in times of war, how come we are currently spending billions of dollars fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight. The oil President Bush wants to drill more so he can enrich his pocket once he leaves the White House. Thus preparing for retirement for himself, Dick Cheney and John McSame. It's time for a change.

    Obama is the real deal!

    August 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Tom B.

    Obama is going to say anything or promise anything to get votes.

    August 4, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Patrick Henry, Fort Myers

    And.....another rabbit pulled from the hat!!!!

    ""Step right up ladies and gentleman–witness the great Obama and his 1 million magic tricks."

    August 4, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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