August 5th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Obama 'confused' on energy positions

Sen. McCain slammed Sen. Obama at a press conference held in the shadow of a nuclear energy plant.

Sen. McCain slammed Sen. Obama at a press conference held in the shadow of a nuclear energy plant.

NEWPORT, Michigan (CNN) – A day after Barack Obama released a television ad that accuses John McCain of seeking tax breaks for big oil, McCain struck back Tuesday, calling Obama “a little bit confused” because of their divergent votes on the 2005 energy bill, which contained tax breaks for oil companies.

Watch: McCain slams Obama on energy policy

McCain made the remarks to reporters after touring the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant, a facility that provides power to 2.3 million customers in southeastern Michigan. McCain is an ardent supporter of nuclear power.

“I saw that Senator Obama's latest attack has got to do with oil and campaign contributions,” McCain said, referring to Obama’s new TV spot. “I think he might be a little bit confused because when the energy bill came to the floor of the senate, full of goodies and breaks for the oil companies, I voted against it. Sen. Obama voted for it. People care, not only what you say but how you vote.”

Obama was one of 25 Senate Democrats to support that energy bill, which the Illinois senator has said represented a compromise that removed several of the Bush administration’s original proposals.

McCain also tweaked Obama for his newfound openness to offshore oil drilling.

“I noticed that there’s confusing now information from Sen. Obama as to whether he actually supports offshore drilling or not,” he said. “The fact is we have to drill here and we have to drill now and we have to drill immediately.”

Related: Obama teases McCain on drilling

McCain acknowledges that “nuclear power isn't enough and drilling isn't enough,” reiterating his regular proposals for a comprehensive approach to energy reform that includes wind, solar and tide production.

Flanked by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, McCain chided Congress for taking their annual summer recess without focusing on fuel prices.

“People are paying four dollars a gallon for gas, are sick and tired of a Congress that won't act in their behalf,” he said. “So I'm urging Senator Obama to urge the Democratic leaders of Congress to call Congress back into session.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Roger from CA

    McCain: What is YOUR plan for all the nuclear waste? I'm sure you are old enough to remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl: Can you guarantee that accidents will never happen? How about protection from terrorism?

    Separately, clearly the Republicans don't REALLY want to be called back to session in Congress. It is within Bush's power to call them back....

    August 5, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Obama isn't green

    Obama was ranked against both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain by a highly respected scientific journal back in the early part of the year.

    The results... Obama came in at the BOTTOM! McCain actually came out on top, with a history of both voting on and being a part of bills for alternative energies. Obama did nothing but vote YES for the Cheney energy bill. Yuck!!!!

    Actions speak louder than words....... 🙂

    August 5, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Interracial Voter

    "But now that gas prices have spiked, McCain is running for President on a drill-first platform, and polls suggest that most Americans agree with him. It's sad to see his campaign adopting the politics of the tire gauge, promoting the fallacy that Americans are powerless to address their own energy problems. Because the truth is: Yes, we can. We already are. "

    This quote from sums up what Sen. McCain and the Republicans think of the American peoples ability to make our own judgement and act on our own. Sen. McCain and his goons cater to ignorance and validate those who refuse to think on their own.

    August 5, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Shannon

    Molly, wrong again, you can Google who has the worst attendance record in congress or go directly to for the information. It is Obama who has the worst attendance record in the senate. You can make up whatever stories you want, but those are the facts, you could also check CNN's archives they did a story on it. McCain is up there, in the worst category , but Obama beats everyone. Maybe as a voter, you should check out and learn a little bit about the man you support. It's sad really, how uninformed you seem to be.

    August 5, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. Debby

    I agree with the poster that Obama doesn't hold a position unless he steals it from someone else.

    August 5, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. shawn atlanta

    Bush and Cheney aren't going to the republican convention...Advisors are telling republican candidates don't come to the convention...Republicans are praising Obama in tv ads. So the question really is Who is CONFUSED...Obama or Republicans.

    August 5, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Clif

    McCain said nuclear power plants are safe because he sailed on a nuclear aircraft carrier or battle ship or something. Isn't he stupid. That's like saying a bottle of nitro is safe because I carried a firecracker in my pocket.

    August 5, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. Illinois 2


    August 5, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Lucieann

    Apparently McCain has been taking plenty of time off from the Senate too, and it wasn't just because he was campaigning. The Republicans are moaning that they want to go back to work for the people to solve the energy crisis...FUNNY!! They are really want to work more for the energy companies....they aren't fooling anyone.

    August 5, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. victorhill

    Remember when Sen. McCain Said This;

    "McCain said in April, “I’m sorry to tell you that the price of oil — as far as I can tell — is not gonna go down anytime soon until we eliminate our dependency on it. We can do that as a nation — we can turn out the lights five minutes earlier, we don’t have to drive the extra block.”

    What’s wrong with this? Nothing in particular. In fact, it’s probably about as sensible as what Obama said about inflating our tires and getting regular tune-ups.

    The difference is, Dems didn’t spend a week getting “giddy” about using lightbulbs as a political prop and insisting that McCain’s entire energy policy is composed of turning off the lights.

    The McSane Plane

    Obama 08

    August 5, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Jason

    I think John McCain is the one who is confused. Oh wait, no, its America that is confused. Majority of the country want change but are afraid of that change.

    McCain is like that old uncle that shows up to family reunions or major holiday gatherings. He gets drunk off the boxed wine, complains about the food, makes comments about the family that shouldn't even be said to the family then laughs about it!! John your way past your prime. If you were on the board as a CEO you would have been removed years ago.

    If we drill it will take 3-5 years before America sees a drop of oil. Can we wait 3-5 years? NO.. McCain will be dead from the stress of the job of President.. America needs to look at alternative fuel sources. I haven't heard 1 thing positive from McCain in 3 months.. What are his views? What are his plans? He can't mention his position first, instead he attacks attacks and attacks.. McCain your a disgrace to me, as I served my country in the Navy also. Shame to admit I served in the same branch you did!! And when was the last time you rode a Harley??

    August 5, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Spider

    Non-Believer wrote:

    Obama uses whatever is important at the moment to decide his course and agenda.

    For you out there that call us haters – I don't hate Obama. He's just another politician playing the political gain (game). My problem is how you so blindly follow this man. It's astonishing to me.

    I totally agree with you.
    I might add, we all want change, but how does Obama plan on accomplishing this change. Does anyone remember how the Democrats managed to regain control of Congress? They all ran on "change". Have we seen any change? Nope, they all went home while we are struggling to fill our gas tanks.

    August 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Bulldog

    McCain = 1/2 Bush + 1/2 Cheney

    August 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Jason

    Hey Shannon

    Anyone running for the office of President should be forced to resign their seat in whatever office they hold.. Senators, Governors, etc.. They can't be effective for their constituents and still campaign. I say make the office of President a single 7 year term. No running for reelection. Allow the voters to decide if a impeachment is warranted. Put it to a vote. 2/3rd majority in a special election. Also the vote for President needs to move to a weekend starting at 6am Saturday morning running 36 consecutive hours ending Sunday at 6pm. That way EVERYONE will have a chance to vote. No excuses.. They votes will be tabulated, no "exit polling" and the office of President will be announced Monday evening!!! America needs to change or else!!

    August 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. Spider

    Illinois 2-
    A Town House meeting?
    Won't the folks on the other side of the wall get angry about all the noise?
    Will they serve those buttery tasting crackers?

    August 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. Donkey Party

    I have to disagree with Michelle Obama. I'm not proud of this country. Look at the level of intellect, or lack thereof, on these posts. I can understand people not liking a candidate, but why all the hatred? Is it because an African-American man is doing better then you? Do you think calling Obama derogatory names is going to influence how people vote? Sadly, it will, because of the large percentage of Americans who are either too stupid, or too lazy to do any real research on their own. Instead they only perpetuate hate and hysteria by calling Obama 'Obama bin Laden, or Obama Hussein' or whatever scary comparison they try to make. If Obama is not the next President, not only has the nation done a great injustice to itself, it's also a slap in the face to the world, who were hoping to finally see America with a true world leader at the helm.

    August 5, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. victorhill

    Sen. Drill Drill Drill.

    They Have Enough Money To Drill Inland.
    Made Historic Amounts of Money, And We The People Have To Give Them More Cash To Do There Business. Dumb 101!

    August 5, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. von in lakeland, fl

    How can a man who's clearly shows early signs of Alzheimer's say that Obama is confused. This man's a joke, he belongs in a retirement home.

    August 5, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. carol

    I think John is confused, not only on energy but everything he has ever
    said. This man is dangerous to the american people if he is elected flew and fighter jet twice and was captured and that makes him a born leader. In a case like this Col Denton should be president from now on. Their is no school to be president and John is just not the right person.

    August 5, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Ell - TX

    I would actually like to hear McCain talk about his policies he seems to avoid them? You can just say we need to drill, what the dollar plan whats the time frame. Oh I forgot he is against time goals!!!!!

    August 5, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. rwinstl

    uh-oh, he said, "confused". he MUST be saying that Obama is senile, right? Isn't that how you sheople think? This just shows how pathetic our eduction system in America is...69% of you support offshore drilling b/c you think it will lower oil prices? Ummm, do a little f-ing research for godsakes. I wouldn't care so much if you weren't affecting my wallet, but I don't care if the price of gas goes down $1 in 10 years when it is $10/gal. Wake up!!!!

    Maverick? He is Bush III. Change? He is about as common as a politician as they come.

    And you want to hear the biggest joke? The HRC supporters that think McCain respects them more than Obama. Ha! If I only didn't have to hear everyone complain about 4 years of McCain and his policies it would be funny. Straight talk? Why don't you check out what he says. Oh, wait, you would actually read the words he says and digest them instead of just use the interpretation provided you by the reporter.

    What a joke.

    August 5, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    If McCain is confused I don't know who is.

    August 5, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. TexMan

    Did he say CONFUSED! Define it.......................because McCain has been so confused since his camp. has been hijacked He is speaking about anything and everything with no meaning I'm trying to keep up with just 1 point before he skips to one of his lame jokes.

    Keeping inflated tires does work, I'm sure folks are laughing at him for promoting nice tire gauges with Obama's name. I'm sure the Dems appreciate it!

    August 5, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. David Goldman for OBAMA





    August 5, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. Informed Voter

    The last person I would expect claiming Obama is confused is you Mc Cain .... LAMO

    August 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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