May 1st, 2008
03:18 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain unyielding in call for gas tax relief

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="John McCain said there should be a federal gas tax holiday."]
CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain continued his push Thursday for a federal gas tax holiday that would eliminate the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax during the summer travel season.

McCain is framing the gas tax debate as a simple choice between helping working families or continuing to stifle their income with high prices at the pump.

“The lamentations of people about the draconian consequences of giving Americans just a little relief for the summer continues to amaze and amuse me,” McCain said at a press conference here, after touring the Cleveland Clinic to learn about new health information technology.

“I’d like to see families in America have a relief from ever increasing costs of gasoline,” he said, “so maybe at the end of the summer after this tax holiday they could buy school supplies for their children as they start the school year.”

Despite a chorus of criticism from independent experts who believe a gax tax holiday amounts to nothing more than ploy for votes that will do little to address long-term energy concerns, McCain and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton have held firm in their calls for a temporary suspension of the tax.

Barack Obama opposes the plan, calling it a “gimmick” and arguing that it would divert revenues away from crucial infrastructure maintenance nationwide. The Republican National Committee took Obama to task for that position Thursday, releasing a Web ad calling him a hypocrite on the issue because he once supported a gas tax holiday while a state senator.

In many ways, the debate over summer gas tax relief is moot, because none of the presidential candidates would take office until next January. But the back-and-forth has given each candidate a means to appeal to voters concerned with high fuel prices.

McCain said as president he would pay for a gas tax holiday with “general revenues” and the removal of needless pork barrel projects and earmarks from government spending bills.

The Arizona Republican dismissed analysts and critics of the gas tax holiday as out of touch with working Americans who are often forced to drive long distances to work.

“Some of wealthiest people live a very short distance to where they work,” he said. “They live in Georgetown. Some of the people who do really hard work and are low income people live as far as 40 or 50 miles away, and they drive older automobiles. It’s time to give them a little break.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. shirley p.

    i have allways voted democrat. i wii not vote for obama, i will go replubican. the senator that just decideedto endorce obama.
    just hurt the democrat party.

    thank you

    May 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Jon

    Money is money. This is a good idea.

    The Obamabots are fully drinking the Koolaid.

    May 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    It's a short term relief for mostly the truckers, farmers and long commuters. If you think about it, it could even help out in product mobility and eventually your pocket book. Why should he listen to all the fortune tellers who don't have any suggestions of their own. Don't always believe what the propagandist are spreading around.

    May 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Leo in Nevada

    I think Obama's plan might be better. It looks far into the future without dealing with the problem facing people at the moment. He will be such a great president. A president should not deal with the nitty gritty non-sense of details and immediate solutions, they should talk about what to do in the far future. .His message of hope and change will keep people looking to the future and forget about their current pain.

    May 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. Pam

    Oh good. Another stubborn old white guy running for president.

    May 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Beth

    Carly Fiorina is advising McCain on economic issues? Seems like the blind leading the blind, no offense to the blind! Fiorina says McCain will pay for fixing bridges after suspending the federal gas tax by paying for it “out of reserves”. WHAT reserves? Did I miss something? Did the US balance the budget and pay off the trillions we owe in national debt since I last watched the news? Good grief! How could Wolf allow that to go unchallenged?? AS IF Clinton or Obama could make such a comment and not have it highlighted over and over.

    May 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. rwinstl

    So we can comment on a McCain article, but the Obama and Clinton comments sections are closed? Interesting. Well, I was trying to post in response to the article about Obama's poll numbers. They reference Rev Wright's approval at 40%, or 59% unfavorable. 60% of the people don't trust Hillary Clinton, the ACTUAL candidate. Which matters more?

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Donald from SC

    “I’d like to see families in America have a relief from ever increasing costs of gasoline,”

    Translated: When are you stupid people going to vote for me? The last time I pumped gas was after returning from the big V. Hurry up and give me MY Presidency because I waited 20 years to get it. If I don't get it now, I will destroy America so no one else can have her.

    If John McCain truly cared about the people he would have stuck to his beliefs and win his own party conservative voter support. But, alas he can't because they don't trust him. Is this what the rest of America really want?

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. More Tricks

    John McCain is as much of a liar and a fool as Bush. I'm not trusting another Republican, let alone one thats just like Bush. Plz dems decide the nomination quickly, we need a dem to win for the people in the general election, and the longer you take the harder it will be to win.

    Clinton or Obama '08

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Mary

    Save 18 cents a gallon
    Tax Oil Corps for our savings
    Oil Corps raise prices to cover tax
    End of summer - 18 cent a gallon tax on higher costing gas.

    Yep - this makes sense

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Yeah! Right! Next!

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Jim - Tucson

    McCain needs to get his buddies at the FED to stop dropping interest rates so the dollar will quit declining and oil will become less expensive. That is a long term solution, not a "holiday" solution.

    May 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. To Venus

    You are in a different planet. McCain will clean Obama's clock in November.. It won't even be close.

    Rev Wright and his Wife's comments will haunt him throughout the election. The American people will not stand up for this charlatan.

    May 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. DC Insider

    To Pandering – Obama was just afraid to back the tax relief and be 3rd in line for doing so. He is slow to act – indecisive – and just plain dumb. and by the way Pandering, Obama supported this very tax relief from the federal fuel tax just 12 months ago - So take your mister flip flop and buy a hybrid .... seems Kerry is having an efffect on barack

    May 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Darth Vadik, CA

    What is this SM fascination Republicans have with tax cuts?

    Here is what this duffus proposed:

    You buy your own health insurance, cost $12,000 (avg family)

    You get a tax rebate for $5000

    Your total cost in one year $7000

    Median US income $50,000

    Cost of raising your tax 2% to cover universal healthcare.

    That is $1000.

    So according to McCain your cost would be $7000

    Universal Heathcare Plan $1000

    7000 vs 1000

    Do you get it yet?

    May 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. The Gas Man (VA)

    Absolutely ridiculous. What about the construction and design employees who are going to be laid off because there's no work for them because there's no roads.

    Oh, and you can use that $30 and then some to fix the tires and suspension and other damage to your vehicles because the roads aren't being maintained. Oh yeah, new construction may be cut too, so roads will be more crowded than now.

    Get rid of the federal gas tax altogether and let the states manage all the road money. Hell, VA is a donor state anyway (we receive something like $.82 for every dollar we send to DC). I don't want my extra $.18 to pay for Alaskan Bridges to Nowhere anyway.

    May 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Mandy, California

    Pander, pander, pander...Hillary and John! You can't do anything until you are President and that will be WAAAAYYYY past this summer.

    So lots of empty promises...good solution!

    May 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Beltway Insider

    Can someone close to this moron please put him in touch with an economist? Imagine the damage this idiot will do the economy if he actually gets elected president.

    May 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Unfooled Patriot

    Grandpa monster , please stop pandering to the un willing. We see and smell your tricky ways or is that your Man Diaper. Come on Grandpa monster you can't fool us , we know you crashed your plane , and then almost drowned , but got saved by a Vietnamese farmer( Or what you call peasant). Then after this guy saved your rear you bailed on him. Plus when you where in Jail for blowing up kids and old folk. They treated you good because your daddy was a high ranking Military guy. I wonder have you ever earned anything In your life.

    May 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Edgar

    From $20 to $30 in Three months is going to make peoples life so much better. Its going to make people catch up on their bills and high food prices.





    OBAMA 08

    May 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. dianne, nc

    I think I saw a poll on CNN this morning, where 85% of people are against the federal gas tax holiday. People are not being fooled!

    May 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Annette Smith

    Why do never bring up John Mccann's affair with his present wife when he was married to his first wife. Are all of you told not to talk about his past? All we here is what Clinton and Obama did or might do.

    May 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. tidho

    Nothing is free, who's paying for it?

    McCain wants to use infastructure funds meaning less projects and less jobs.

    Clinton wants to tax big oil which probalby means an offsetting price increase, but could mean corporate layoffs or less alternative fuel research too.

    Idiotic, but uninformed voters will lap it up!...or at least Clinton and McCain hope so.

    May 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Fran Martin

    McCain's dimwitted populist idea has drawn fire from thinking Americans and economists as well. After the oil companies exploit such a tax decrease with an increase of their own, it is projected that the average family of 4 will save far less than $100 across the summer months, even as the oil companies rake in even higher profits. Meanwhile Americans will be discouraged from doing the right things to mitigate the impact of higher gas prices and the nationwide system of roads will further erode from a failure to properly fund upkeep from the fuel tax. Good move Johnny Boy, only Bush could have come up with a more foolhardy plan.

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. MD in OK

    I have to agree with Obama. This is only a short term fix. We need long term solutions. Saving $10. a month for 3 months is nothing. Some of my utilities have already increased, so that's where my meager savings will go.

    Don't believe the polls when they say Obama is losing support. A lot of these polls are biased against Obama, especially ARG. Just do your reasearch and you will be surprised. One of these candidates has to drop out ,and CNN is hoping that it's Obama. Shame on you CNN!

    May 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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