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. Crush Rush

    Obama must go after the real crooks,"Oil Speculators",but he must be afraid of them too.

    August 4, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. jdc

    Just shows Obama is another worthless Jimmy Carter (i.e. "put on your sweaters, turn down your thermostats, and things will get worse," Carter's words, and they DID, until Ronald Reagan kicked his butt out!!!

    August 4, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Saddened American

    Oh, how quickly things change. Looks like America is getting tired of Obama Mania '08 and this guy's true colors [sic] are beginning to show. Sounds like just another version of something we as voters were so anxious to get away from in the first place.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is politician.

    August 4, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Mr. Aiken

    This is a great idea we should not go offshore unless it is emergency. This is not one this is Bush fulfilling his promise to his oil friends not the American people.

    August 4, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Chris

    I love how McCain says this isn't a fix to the price problem, yet portrays his idea of drilling as a silver bullet. The expanded drilling the Republicans are proposing won't do a thing for prices for YEARS, and then only a drop of a few cents. It takes a long, long time to find the oil, get the equipment in place, drill, start removing the oil, ship it to a refinery, refine it and then release it onto the market. These high prices have NOTHING to do with supply and demand, but with blood-sucking speculators driving up the prices and gaining from everyone else's loss.

    August 4, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Belle

    What I think is super funny....calling McCain's ads negative!

    They are funny...however, Senator Obama has no qualms whatsoever about being untruthful in HIS ads.

    HIS latest oil ad is a prime example. NO oil companies can donate to candidates, so to say McCain is taking money from big oil is untruthful.

    DON"T FORGET Obama's "bundlers" donating to HIS campaign...all representing employees of "BIG OIL".

    We are on to you Senator Obama, you better try telling the truth instead of making it up as you go.....

    August 4, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Lorna, NY

    I love the flip-flop comments, if those people think they can do better, then, they should run for public office. If you choose to do nothing, then SHUT UP. The only way that things will change is when ordinary people do something to make their lives better. We are a country of "What can the government do for me?" instead, how can I make things better. We are a bunch of WINERS!

    August 4, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |


    August 4, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Cyrus - NY

    This is not a policy shift you morons!! This is a shift in strategic focus. Get the difference? or Americans are too stupid to understand it.

    His core policies are still the same. A month ago, he said that he didn't think it was a good idea to tap into the oil reserves at "that time". Things have gotten worse since then, and desperate times demand desperate measures.

    Oh, another thing...people who call Obama "Osama" are less than human, un-Christian, and vile. Osama bin Laden is not a human being, and insulting Obama like this is just un-American. You may not like Obama's policy, his politics, his personality, but calling him by the name of a global terrorist is just disgusting.

    August 4, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. I am always right!

    Obama is the ultimate politics as usual politician.

    Anything to get elected.

    August 4, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Carol, Md

    The strategic petroleum reserve is not a gas station !!!!

    August 4, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Scott L

    Dumb plan.

    August 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Oh good night, if he could tap just 1/3 of the hot air he is spewing this country would be 100% ok with energy.

    August 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Cotton Picker 1808

    Yes we can, we built America, we don't look like the previous PrESIDENTS ONTHE dOLLAR BILLS, WE DON'T HAVE ANY iMAGE ON mOUNT rUSHMORE, jOHN mCcAIN CAMPAIGN SAID THAT IN UNDERTONE ON AN AD ABOUT obama. yET THEY CAST HIM AS PLAYING THE RACE CARD WHEN mCcAIN AND bLACK DID IT. tRYING TO CREATE AN ELECTION BASE ON RACE HUH. Werll, Yes we will see what states have racial problems come November and they will be boycotted like the white plague because tourist and business will fall drastically. It is time to bring judgement back to American Politics, the Union will rise in November. Bush, McCain, Cheney are secret members of the secret order that set up the Confederacy, it is a trick and Americans are fallying for it, NOT THIS TIME!

    August 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Matthew

    This would do nothing for prices long term, there'd be a few cent drop for a few days after which we would have significantly reduced our ability to respond to a crisis. This is completely politically motivated, buying votes at the expense of national security.

    August 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Obama is a fool.

    ...And Obama has obviously decided that, the merits of his previous policy notwithstanding, it was time to fold for political advantage. It’s a little inconvenient that just the day before his about-face, Obama told a Missouri voter: “What I don’t want to do is say something because it sounds good politically.”

    August 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    GO OBAMA, This will help Sen Obama 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.” The American people need look at how soon will drilling off shore will help now don't be fool. lets drill now, it's a long progess to find oil. Tapping the reserves will help now rather than later. Good call Sen Obama. What will McCain start whining about next. Go Obama

    August 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Dan (TX)

    VERY BAD IDEA. Tapping the SPR for consumer benefit is NOT a strategic reason. When it's empty, then what? A 90 day supply for the nation isn't enough, we should be adding to it – not depleting it.
    Wasn't it not too long that Democrats were complaining about how expensive it was to fill and stopped adding to it?? Yeah, that $70/barrel turned out to be a bargin – didn't it?
    Tapping the SPR will not have any short term gain for Americans. CHINA and other fast developing countries will suck up any surplus oil on the WORLDWIDE oil market.

    August 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Cyrus - NY

    Ron Democrat turned Independent:

    "contempt for American intelligence"? I thought "American intelligence" is an oxymoron. Otherwise, why would we elect a fascist twice in the office.

    August 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. SAM2008

    Flip-Flop to win this is so stupid i will never VOTE for somebody lies to get what he wants. he took money from oil companies from lobbyist too.
    Come on people open your eyes and ears listen and look.
    We need one strong plan to secure this country from such prices, we have to drill oil in our country and we have to make create new renewable energy at the same time, we cant count on oil all the time and we cant use our food to make bio-fuel food to survive.
    so the plan is
    drill and at the same time make wind field to get our energy and solar power too, and our cars should be smaller.
    and the price of gas should be $1.75 all the time never 99¢ like before.
    so the oil companies make money and everybody will be happy and we keep AMERICA MOVING FORWARD.

    August 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Franky

    By the way guys, I hope you guys have the post that I put up right now. I just don't see it. Maybe because there's too muh information going on...

    And one last note guys, if our President can change the (expletive) rules or laws, then who the (expletive) do we think we are??!?!

    I may not be geting tired of the Brett Favre story but I'm definitely getting (expletive) tired of the media..

    August 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Jay

    Man, this guy is taking flip flopping and political expediency to a whole new level! What Obama stands for?...just take a look at the most recent public opinion poll results!

    August 4, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. williefloyd

    There are times when I think some people speak first and think later. How many of you "bashers" are willing to say that no matter what might happen in your life you're never going to change your mind about anything?? Does that remind you of GWB-my way or the highway!! Well it's called different things, listening and learning, compromising, being willing to take advice from experts, to name a few. Fools rush in,etc., etc.
    Unless I'm mistaken, the "squabble" over drilling is a result of the Reps. wanting the oil cos. to obtain more leases. I'm not sure I understand exactly why they object to drilling in the leases they already have. Re: comment, if Iran starts another war, etc., etc.,- folks if the mideast becomes a veritable holocaust I don't think any of us will need to worry about oil-or anything else for that matter. Think about a warmonger as your next president-then think about your children & grandchildren.
    Sen. Obama has a sensible solution for at least a short term relief. I'm sure he and congress will be working diligently to determine the different factors necessary for a long term solution.


    August 4, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Terry in New York

    The 2 things that scrare me about Obama are his lack of urgency about the cost of gas now or for the future. How many are willing to give up their lifestyle to save energy? Sure we can all help but we have oil we haven't touched yet. Why would't we send a message to OPEC that we won't be blackmailed? Let's force big oil to drill offshore and in Alaska. Granted we may not realize any benefit from drilling offshore or in Alaska right away but at least it's forward thinking so we aren't in a worse mess in 10 years? The thought of dotting the country with my Nuclear plants scares me a hole lot more than drilling offshore or in Alaska. We have a bigger chance of an enviromental issue shipping oil than we do drilling for it. No one says stop shipping oil!! The other concern is his understanding of national security issues (or lack of). I may have to vote McCain just for those 2 reasons.

    August 4, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. EC

    obama, laughed at the idea of a tax holiday on fuel. Mybe because you are buying his gas for him, or that he is sitting on MILLIONS of dollars. We needed relief then, 2 months ago. can't you people see this guy is playing politics. All he wants are the keys to the White House, so he and rev. wright and of course is wife and kids, can make HISTORY. As an african American I do not feel he has the best intrest of all the American people at heart. Democratec congress + democratic president /obama= DISASTER for Americans.

    August 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10