August 4th, 2008
09:06 AM ET
6 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.

UPDATE:
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. Tom

    What a great idea! Let's just drain it all til there's nothing left, and then shift the blame later on the Republicans. Let's just drop all semblance of reason and responsibilty, like spending everything in my checking account because I've got overdraft protection with my savings account.

    The SPR is for times of national emergency. It was last used during Katrina (yes that's right-by the Bush Administration) and before that during the 100 hours of the First Gulf War in order to wage economic warefare in addtion to the kinetic warfare of tanks, ships, and planes. That was also used by the Bush Adminisration...the first one.

    Democrats just love to spend, spend, spend...the only reason BillClinton was able to balance the budget is because he reduced the size of the military by 90%, and got us into this mess in the first place.
    18 of the 22 terrorists who conducted the 9/11 attacks had been profiled and ID'd by the Clinton administration, yet no action was taken against them...pathetic.

    August 4, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. No Osama 08

    CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE = CHANGE POSITION TO MEET PUBLIC OPINION. OPPOSED OFFSHORE DRILLING, NOW SUPPORT IT. THAT'S ALL THE CHANGE THAT BARACK OSAMA HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

    August 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Nom Deplume

    Another policy flip? Let's think about this one for a moment. Tap the SPR and leave us more vulnerable to oil shocks in time of crisis?

    This, coupled with other Obama and dem positions means this:

    1. The plan to get us off oil is by making it more scarce (and thus more expensive), causing demand destruction. Getting rid of SPR while blocking new exploration means that dems essentially want to end domestic oil production and supplies;

    2. Cashing out the insurance policy (the SPR) means that BHO will NEVER stand up to a foreign policy challenge–he will have to back down from any challenge because we will be more vulnerable, and will not have the oil to withstand embargoes or shortages.

    This is the policy America wants to implement when it votes BHO.

    Remember where you heard it first.

    August 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Jordan, NC

    "Obama calls for giving 'full vote' to Michigan, Florida delegates"

    WHY IS THIS NOT THE TOP STORY?

    WHY WAS COMMENTS CLOSED SO EARLY FOR THAT STORY?

    WHY WAS THE NEWS RELEASED BY THE DNC ON A SUNDAY?

    THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

    OBAMA STOLE THE NOMINATION AND HE SHOULDN'T EVEN BE HERE RIGHT NOW. A LOT OF THINGS COULD HAVE HAPPENED HAD ALL VOTES AND DELEGATES BEEN COUNTED IN MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA BUT THE PRESS IS JUST HAPPY TO TREAT THIS AS ANOTHER STORY. FOR ONE,

    WHY DID OBAMA GO AGAINST FULL REPRESENTATION BEFORE? WHY WAS IT SO CRITICAL BACK THEN THAT THAT HAPPENED?

    OBAMA IS PLAYING POLITICS AND THE PUBLIC AND MEDIA IS JUST LETTING IT SLIDE. IF HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE HIS WORD, WHAT DOES HE HAVE? HE HAS GOT NO EXPERIENCE. AND PARIS IS MORE OF A WASHINGTON OUTSIDER THAN OBAMA, WHY DON'T WE ELECT HER? THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

    BRING HILLARY BACK!!!

    August 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. karen-phoenix

    Obama is willing to compromise inorder to get American's OFF oil!!!
    What is wrong with all you people?!!!! That is what held up the votes last week. Republicans will not give an inch for money to go to wind, solar, natural gas!!! Backed by big oil!!!
    LISTEN TO OBAMA!!!! Besides the oil companies won't drill. THey won't spend the money!!! Making to much profit now!!

    August 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Matt-NE

    Another idiotic Flip-Flop of Obama!

    How can the democrats look America in the face, lie, and tell everyone that putting more oil on the market will not lower gas prices, then tell everyone we should stop filling the reserves so we can put more oil on the market so gas prices will come down.

    Sorry, Obama, but America is not stupid enough to fall for your Flip-Flops.

    August 4, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. gotcha

    Do not touch the strategic reserves!! Obama, are you crazy? What would we do if the Middle east idiots cut us off completely? Please do not listen to this idiot who is not dry behind the ears. How many more ideas does he have, inflate tires, use reserves. My God, he is scary. Please people wake up. He is irresponsible, and would ruin our country

    August 4, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Nom Deplume

    To obama 08

    Cheaper??? Where did you get your econ degree, in the mail?

    Oil in the SPR has a lower cost basis than oil in the market.

    Replacing light crude with heavy crude means you have to buy heavy crude (at 125 per barrel)

    Where does heavy crude come from? Venezuela.

    I think I know what side you are on.

    August 4, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Mike

    Americans need to start looking at the big picture here... "We" are the problem!!!

    We are a nation of people that like a quick fix, we like to observe from a distance rather than act, and most of us live above our means!!!

    All of this nonsense about oil... There is no quick fix here... even if the oil is taken from the reserve it will take several months for it to be processed and put into your gas tanks... Oil companies are making money hand over fist because they are not heavily regulated... they can slow production and raise the price... all of them know that Americans will complain about the cost but continue to buy it... why should they care???

    The war... once again was a response to 9/11... Now that it has taken longer than most of you expected... you just want to get out and leave a huge mess behind!!! That would be the most responsible thing we could do after tearing apart a country... All of you need to quit complaining about it and come up with solutions... good luck with that because first you need to understand Iraq culture and what they believe in....

    Housing market... that goes directly to the problem with people living beyond their means... my generation is the worst when it comes to saving money for a rainy day... for some reason we "want "to have the biggest and best thing you can buy... instead of what you "need" and can afford... Instead of sitting back and hoping for a miracle from the government... get a second or third job!!!

    Now all of you can complain about my post and continue to do nothing about the real problems of the day!!!

    Actions always speaks louder than Words....

    August 4, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Scott, Phoenix

    Let's not forget that Obama is following lock-step with that head witch in Congress.

    August 4, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Noans, South Pasadena

    What's happened to Obama's pledge of CHANGE? His vote for FISA and now support for off shore drilling, sounds like just another slick politician voting in favor of Corporate America instead of the people and voters who supported him and believed in his message of change.

    I haven't even heard Obama mention or discuss the PickensPlan, from oilman turned wind mill developer, Pickens and his thus far successful wind energy plan. Where's the change you promised, Obama?

    August 4, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Herman in LA

    CNN you can post this...

    The American people are hard up and stupid and will stoop to levels for their own no good...

    That's why we have a housing crises because of stupidly and greed from the American people.

    August 4, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Johnboy

    McCain changes his stance and it is called a flip-flop. Obama changes his and it is called an "apparent policy shift"? Nice one-sided reporting.

    August 4, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Barack the Tele-promp-ter Messiah

    Why do we NOT have mandatory K-12 economics education?

    What the hell makes the difference? Oil from the SPR vs. oil from drilling? Either way, it's the same effect... adding more of a given product to the market, which will lower prices.

    Actually, drilling will do more to lower prices than raiding the SPR, as emotion drives markets more than solid economic fundamentals... the mere mention that "all drilling and refining laws and moratoriums are being removed" would make crude prices plummet. SPR is limited. Drilling... hells bells, who KNOWS how much crude is available. REMOVE the government's artificial roadblocks to economic progress.

    You do understand what the "strategic" part of SPR stands for, correct? It means, "being prepared and having a supply of oil to use in a time of war to power ships, planes and tanks." It doesn't mean "lowering gas prices temporarily to get Democrats elected."

    August 4, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Here is where common sense meets the road.
    Let say you get a dip cut that is bleeding profusely, do you think about stitching it up right way or do you apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding before you die from blood lose and then get to the hospital to get stitched up for better healing? Tapping into national strategic reserves in the short term will bump supplies that will offset the prices at the pump. Get it why gas tax holiday will not dot the same, get it why offshore drilling will not do the same in the short run? Energy crisis in the US needs multi prong solutions so let’s get out of this Bush/McCain one track mind set. If you believe the only solution in Iraq is the military or the surge is the only thing that brought down violence then you are suffering from a “BushMcCainalitis”. Cure at ZERO cost to you is simply opening your mind.

    Sad to say but if you want to know where the economic stimulus package went; you need look no further than Exxon/Mobil profits of $12 billion in one quarter and that is an outrage.

    August 4, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Alice in Florida

    What a flip-floppety fool Obama is! I wish he had stayed in Germany forever!

    August 4, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Mac's the Man

    Great call... Drain our RESERVES.

    THEY ARE IN RESERVE FOR A REASON... THIS IS NOT THE REASON.

    Obama is gonna run this country into the gutter if elected...

    August 4, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. gary

    ITS NOT LIKE SOMEONE ELSE HASN'T MENTION IT. OBAMA YOUR A BIG JOKE.

    August 4, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Gerald F.

    Hypocrisy. Thy name is Politician!

    August 4, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Phong Nguyen

    How many flip-flops can S. Obama do in one year??? Let's have a watch and count...

    August 4, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Republicans for Obama

    there is a difference between flip-flopping and changing one's mind based on the current and ongoing information.
    the only point folks are making with such sweeping generalizations is that they're operating on a pure emotion and with marginal intelligence.

    August 4, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Matthew

    The oil situation is not a difficult binding situation. What is going on is the play off of time in Washington. There is a war raging, not in Iraq, but the rest of the modern world. Oil is America's greatest investment, Americans do not want to use any other resource, but oil. All other alternatives would take yrs to cross over. In these underdeveloped countries they have understood this. How and why, is a matter of contest delivering the offer of free democratization. The Middle East in particular has been thriving in the economic welfare. So prices of oil will plunge, only because of the minds of Americans which are not up to pace, respectfully, to other thriving countries. America's leaders will now have to find a way to tap into the consumer. One way would most likely be to drive consumers pockets into wiser spending. Most of the spending is over spent in areas of lavish spending, which should be going into the things they complain about like education and investing in their community (giving back). American's make a crazy amount of income, but still lag economically which should be an open indicator.

    August 4, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Election Watcher

    Obama is a man of his word, bproblem is his word is always open to interpretation.
    Here are some campaign slogans for you:
    "Change = Flip flop"
    "Yes, we can! (...change our minds whenever it suits us politically)"

    Vote for the great Flip-flop '08

    August 4, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. ArtNYC

    This is horrible. I can't believe it. He will say ANYTHING for a vote. It's called emergency reserve for a reason, it's meant to be used for an emergency, not to lower gas prices by .50 cent. What will Obama do when the reserve is over?

    I think what's more bothersome is that he will say anything to get a vote. This man has no principles and he doesn't believe in anything. I'm sorry he believes in change, change your posisiton so you can win votes.

    August 4, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Allan

    Run Osama,run.Why you soooooooo DUMB.One offer after another flip-flop,The man is desperate.Poll go down. He need do something. So he come with dumb idea again. Wake up America.
    .

    August 4, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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