April 28th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton unveils gas tax relief plan; entire field rolls out fresh attacks


GRAHAM, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton rolled out a new plan to help ease the burden of high gas prices, along with fresh criticism of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain – whose campaign continued a recent war of words with Barack Obama over his own proposal for relief at the pump.

After briefly touching on it Sunday night, Hillary Clinton rolled out proposed legislation Monday morning to ease the burden of high gas prices by removing the tax on gas and instead taxing oil companies for “windfall” profits.

“I understand that the American people need some relief and you see I think we want to show that the government can actually work for hardworking Americans again,” Clinton told supporters at a North Carolina campaign event.

The plan would temporarily remove the tax drivers pay on gas for the summer, and shift that burden to oil companies that earn “enormous” profits. An average profit would be calculated for the oil companies, and anything over 10 percent higher than that average would be taxed 50 percent.

Clinton argued that the gas tax holiday paired with the tax on “big oil” would maintain funding for the Highway Trust Fund that is charged with maintaining and building roads and highways.

Clinton criticized both of her presidential opponents for their positions on the issue, saying “Senator McCain says he’s all for a gas tax holiday but won’t pay for it” and “my opponent, Senator Obama, opposes giving consumers a break.”

McCain put forward similar legislation as part of his economic plan, also proposing the elimination of gas taxes for the summer months but funding the Highway Trust Fund "by transferring monies from the General Treasury.” Obama is against the idea altogether, calling it “a short-term quick fix” and arguing that a gas tax holiday won’t have an effect on long-term gas prices.

Both have focused their fire on each other over the idea for the past several days. Neither has yet responded to Clinton’s attacks.

Obama called McCain’s plan ineffective at a Wilmington, North Carolina campaign event Monday, telling the crowd it was “typical of how Washington works…a short-term quick fix… You’ll never see the savings. Then we pretend like we did something.”

“…If it lasts for 3 months, you'll save about 25 or 30 dollars. Or half a tank of gas. That’s his big solution,” he said of McCain, who attacked Obama over the issue Sunday.

“And he had the gall yesterday to tell me that obviously since I didn’t agree with his plan I must not be sympathetic to poor people, this at the same time he’s proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporate Americans…

McCain’s campaign said Obama was back-tracking on support for a gas tax holiday while he served as an Illinois state senator. They also said his characterization of the Arizona senator’s proposals were inaccurate.

“It’s clear Barack Obama’s not strong enough to provide immediate relief at the pump, and it shows he doesn’t understand our economy or have the ability to deliver for hardworking Americans,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Senator Obama’s arguments against John McCain’s gas tax holiday are complete fiction, and the reality is that he used to support a gas tax holiday before he was running for President.”

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Venus

    None of them can do any thing about gas prices right now!

    Hillary and Mc Cain should share some of their profits with the American people that they have gotten from these oil compaines!

    Americans should not drive for 3-days! Trust me that prices would drop!

    It's time for Mc Cain to punch on Hillary! Not unless he already knows that he will be wasting his time?

    Go Obama! We are on our way!

    April 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. R.I.F.


    I think you meant to type in foxnews dot com. I'm guessing you're trying out for seat next to Hannity. White sheets optional.

    April 28, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Venus

    To poster Frank above!

    If we want to read two-books on why not to vote for Obama we will!

    Since you are not voting for him – go to your BLOG and post!

    Go Obama!

    April 28, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Crystal CA

    What idiot would actually believe the Clinton's are racist? Bill Clinton has done more for the African American community than anyone in recent history, including Obama. He has his own private offices in Brookyn, NY. What is wrong with everyone?

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Obama 08

    Just pandering by Clinton prior to the primaries on May 6th. She knows very well that this won't be dealt with by Congress and the White House prior to the vote or by Memorial Day...hopefully voters are able to see through her latest say anything antics.

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Val

    A.J. in Fla:

    That's very nicely said. I concur with you 100%.

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Mike

    In terms of percentage, the Clintons earned a higher return on their investments than ExxonMobil.

    Hillary's proposal ignores the link between autos and global warming.
    Hillary's proposal does nothing to increase energy independence.

    This woman's lack of knowledge of the energy industry is astounding!

    I think the Clinton's should pay a windfall profits tax.

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Slick Rick

    Good Luck on that! I'm not holding my breath.

    April 28, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Carl in Texas

    Nothing has been done by anyone on any side for a while about gas prices. Taxing a company for making money is stupid. That's like taxing McDonalds for making people fat or taxing Coca-cola and Pepsi for diabetes.

    American companies chose to have oil based gasoline as the monopoly of energy for vehicles.

    Oil companies are generally doing their job. We can build a spacecraft that withstands thousands of degrees of heat and travels millions of miles. You telling me we can't build a ford that can't get 45 miles per gallon?

    Yes, there is blame, but blame auto makers, blame the federal reserve for inflation, blame Congress for doing nothing... blame yourselves for thinking we are entitled to $1.00 per gallon gas...

    April 28, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. jimmy vekmen


    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Determined

    This is information that the American people NEED to know; this is VITAL to ALL voters. The Clintons are scandalous. There is a case pending RIGHT NOW in CA, it’s a real, legit case Peter Paul vs Clinton. For the skeptics, the case number is : BC304174

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Marshall in Nebraska

    We are where we are due to the inept performance of the Democrat led Congress.

    Thank, America we need a change at all levels.

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. R

    The oil companies set the price. Taxing them only will make the prices go higher to offset the taxes.

    What she is doing is seriously going to spike prices.

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Emma

    There are no paupers running for president.So don't despise The Clintons for their wealth.They earned what they have . I hope Obama and mcCain did too. This is in respose to What do YOU know.

    April 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. H Martin

    Obama said this already. You are copying again Hillary! Go Obama!

    April 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Crushinator

    My biggest problem with McCain's plan, apart from the fact that it will severely curtail revenues used to fix our road infrastructure, is the fact that it is only a quick fix, essentially a pander in an election year. It ignores the fact that lowering the cost of gas at the pump can actually increase demand, thereby causing the real price of gas to rise even higher. Then when you put the tax back in place in the fall, gas prices are suddenly higher than ever before and it becomes an instant drag on the economy, which likely wouldn't be helped a whole lot by the tax break in the first place.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Tyler in Raleigh, NC

    Oh I got it, lets just become COMMUNISTS and tell eveyone what they can and can not make as profit.

    ITS A FREE MARKET, this is the CAPITALIST COUNTRY. The government is supposed to protect the people, not dictate what we can earn, what insurance we should buy or what pin we should wear on our lapels. That goes for companies and citizens.

    I happen to think Congress makes too much... how about we penalize them for everything over the 10% of NOTHING I think they earn.

    April 28, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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