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. Ian

    That sounds like a great plan. So who's going to pay for my damaged tires when we run out of money to repair our roads?

    Typical band-aid polititian.

    April 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Lin Lo

    Geesh! Obama has been saying this for awhile now. Once again, she is trying to copy Obama? What a loser!

    April 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. history repeats

    i like her plan, i dont like mccains plan its sounds a little short term and weak. but i already know the hillary haters on typing away on this post. the same people that called Gore weak and Kerry unpatriotic are the same people that love mccain. i look at these people as gamblers they just dont leave the table they keep playing there hands even though there isnt much there hoping that it will pay off and they can be given there credibility back. but they spent there entire life savings and won a fraction of what they lost. and they are happy with that. its like the iraq war. its costing us so much money and so many lives, there is no true ending in sight or even a goal. i mean we say we want to free them but can we please be honest we are not holding on so tight to this country because we are nice it all has to do with economics. but americans dont care about economics they believe in there "good guy, bad guy" doctrine. so the war is a miserable mess and then there is a month where the fighting slows down and u see all these conservative jump up and say its working and we are winning!!! GAMBLERS. all that happened was the level of violence was worse in 2007 and then went back down to the levels they were in 2006 and the idiots that put us in there are declaring victory. america needs to worry more about educating its society instead of teaching other societies about free markets.........

    April 28, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. A.J. in Fla

    Dear Mrs. Clinton

    Remember the election in 2006 when people voted Democrats to Congress based on foolish promises, Well..!!! , at that time the price of gasoline was $ 2.19. ( average ) Today, after the wonderful work of the Democratic Congress the price of gas is $ 3.60 (average)

    Thank you very much to you and all the Democrats God help us...!!!

    April 28, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Marshall in Nebraska

    Right Hillary is going tax big oil..They have too many people in DC baught and paid for. It will never happen and she knows it.

    Cheetahs never shange their spots. She is still a Republican.

    April 28, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Go McCain

    Yeah–great idea. Tax the oil companies. Typical democrat response. This will only hurt the volatile stock markets resulting in lower dividends. Even worse, it could result in oil companies moving overseas where they will not be forced to pay the ridiculus US taxes. Hey Hillary, how about demanding a "luxury " tax on anyone purchasing a vehicle that does not average 25-30 mpg. Oh wait–that won't work.. You would lose your support from the American auto companies.

    April 28, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Julie.

    The DNC needs to step up and ask Obama to step down! I am tired of the charade, I'm almost ashamed for him. He obviously has no idea what he is doing or saying, very pathetic.

    April 28, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Frank

    Tired and Fed up with Obama's tricks and BS I have decided to vote for Hillary for the following NOBAMA reasons:

    OBAMA comes across as one of those Charismatic religious preachers on Sunday morning TV, you know, the big crowds around him, chanting, crying, etc almost like a cult leader with people listening to him with blind admiration and with total subjective belief - very sickening
    OBAMA speaks of unifying people and then he calls the Clintons racists and makes comments like typical white people (women) and no one (on CNN ) says a word. The double standard working again against white folks and women.
    OBAMA says Hillary is the only one that is being negative, but he constantly bashes her over and over and over with mean personal condescending comments calling her secretive, untrustworthy, divisive etc. And nobody days a word the double standard working again.
    OBAMA has done virtually little while he was an Illinois State Senator. When he had to make critical votes on Capital punishment for murderous Gang Members he voted against this important deterrent law...
    OBAMA preaches every voice should be heard, but he has his lawyers and lobbyist stop the re-votes Primaries in Michigan and Florida (Where in our Constitution is it written that anyone has the right to prevent approximately 3 million Americans from exercising their franchise to vote.….
    OBAMA has difficulties in debating well, so he tends to blame everyone for his lack in debating skills.
    OBAMA continuously insults the Bill Clinton who is the only successful democratic president that America had in the last several decades.
    OBAMA receives over 93% of the black vote but virtually nothing is said on CNN or any major network that this is a complete race based vote but when Hillary receives support from white voters their response is race influenced even though that same demographic shows 30% to 40% support for OBAMA.
    OBAMA seems to be able to can say whatever he wants and the media specifically CNN will back him up with all the excuses. Just listen to Roland Martin. He is a complete joke. Roland is really objective oh yes.
    OBAMA media BIAS. There is the media coverage on CNN for stories like “Black in America" and "Race and Politics”. Well, CNN where was there a story WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH in March and then of course why didn’t CNN put out a story on for instance "GENDER AND POLITICS" or "WOMEN AND POLITICS" ??? LOOKS LIKE CNN is as SUBJECT AS ROLAND MARTIN IN COVERAGE OF THESE PRIMARIES.

    April 28, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. lamotz in PA

    Good idea, Hillary!! They're making the billions. Let them pay!

    April 28, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Donovan


    This would stop the speculation right in its tracks...it eleminates
    the middle man profits as the 50% tax gas cap (pun) would
    elemante the speculative elements.

    Also; i would bet that Clintons Attorney Gen would push for anti trust
    investigations...Its there. Also the possibility of Breaking the Oil
    companies up....Do we Export our Domesticly Produced Oil????
    whay doesnt CNN report on that one?

    April 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Milwaukee for Obama

    Frank, you are a sore loser and just vote for mccain and shut the hell up. I am white and voting for Obama.

    April 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. R

    Cheney isn't going to like this

    April 28, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. What do YOU know

    The Clinton's are Racists. They are only interested in preserving their status as cornerstones of a broken and corrupted political system for their own personal benefits. to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars actually as well. They are self servers, and they will dance for everyone so they will relax, then the minute they do, bam, stabbed in the back. They are getting their great comeuppance during this cycle my friend. I didnt even bother to read the rest of your rediculous TRIPE past that point, cause I already knew you were full of garbage. Adios! Your days are numbered son!

    April 28, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Eric-PA

    Watch in a short time we'll hear from the Obama camp that Hillary's plan is really HIS plan and the Obamabots will believe it.

    April 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. AZM

    I'm sorry McCains idea is only a short term quick fix... but I'd take it for now... any break on gas would help... these prices are hard to budget for.

    April 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    Cant we just stop putting oil in our reserves for now.

    Use the tax money to put people back to work fixing the roads that keep destroying my car!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Angus McDugan

    She is reaching out to the average Joe. Tax releif... How about a plan to migrate the nation to alternate sources of energy? No, that would take brains and effort.

    April 28, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Texas Vet

    The bias for Obama is primarily shown by voters. It is time for this country to get behind Obama and help him to get our country back

    If you believe Hope is Hype you have already defeated yourself.

    If you believe negative attacks are fair you lose what is ethical and right.

    Say the rules are not important and noone will follow them in future.

    Make false statements you prove you can never be believed.

    If your record shows your promises have not been kept your promises mean nothing.

    If you believe these are the traits of a leader of our Country you do not understand what are our Country should and can be.

    If you don’t vote because your Democratic candidate is not nominated you become an accomplice to what follows.

    To steal and mangle text from Will’s Henry V

    We many, we happy many, we band of brothers and sisters. For those that vote with me in November for Obama shall ever be my Family. That vote shall change our condition. Voters that stayed away or voted otherwise shall think themselves accursed. And they shall stay silent while any speak that voted with us on that blessed day.

    April 28, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Rev. Wright Is NOT Running 4 Office

    Frink is an Idiot! He must have been living under a rock with all that nonsense he just wrote!
    CNN Post this!!
    Stop the Drama VOTE Obama!

    April 28, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Lisa

    Anger does not solve problems. Get over it. She is secretive and a liar. I am with her on the issues, but it seems there's something up the sleeve. Just as you perceive Obama in a certain way, its vice versa for others. I will vote for either one of them. Maybe..

    April 28, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Oh yes, McCain is dead wrong. Any tax relief from a temporary removal of this tax would only half fill most anyones tank. Big deal. And McCain thinks he is helping the poor? Only someone totally out of touch with reality would say that.

    Get out your calculator Hillary and McCain.

    April 28, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. john williams san diego, ca.

    only 'fools for hillary' would believe anything she says, but they have 35 years of 'experience' believing her. It's not really lies, it's just her way of talking to us. And wasn't bubba the grandest of all!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. FactCheck

    What an absolutely idiotic plan. Her constituency must be as dense as she gives them credit for.

    April 28, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. shame on your remarks

    Obama has never talked about removing the tax for summer months. he just talking about how he's gonna make those oil companies pay for this. no mention of a tax relief. get with the program before you boast your mouths!

    April 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. clear thinking

    Common sense at last. Good Job Hillary!

    April 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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