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. Ed

    When will we wake up and recognize that Hilary has tried to come up with something for every primay just for the vote. I am so tired of her messing with our minds.....Hilary will do or say anything to win. I was fooled before, but not anymore.

    I admire Barack for his good judgment and telling us what we need to know even if it is not popular.

    Come on Indiana and North Carolina....let's put this honest, genuine man in the White House to work for all Americans.

    May 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Al

    Both Clinton & McCain are ignoring every single reputable economy expert. They all agree this does basically nothing. Saving $25 over the course of the summer amounts to nothing. Its a terrible idea that they are using for political gains only. Obama's the only one who see's this.

    May 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. truthurts

    we don't need $30 and the same problem facing us right after summer.

    If anything it will cause more people to consume gas during the vacation and raise prices anyway due to demand.

    A better solution is to release the reserves and force the price down and stop speculators from pricing gas based on a week dollar

    May 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Donovan

    Give em hell McCain!

    May 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Video Guy

    This should be enough to show that Mr Obama is the real thing. His numbers are down a little, he had a little Pastor trouble and still he does not take the easy way out. He tells it like it is.

    May 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Chi4Obama

    And yet, another reason why Obama gets my vote.
    What McCain and Hillary are promoting is purely political spin. People don't realize that "suspending the gas tax" doesn't even mean that we will be paying lower prices in the short run. Oil companies will do nothing more than just increase the price of gas, in order to compensate for the tax.

    Let's work on attacking the "root" cause of why gas prices are so high to begin with. Not encourage some short term band-aid that will not solve are long term problems. Obama in '08

    May 1, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. DJ in TX

    To Jon – when the bridge you may drive falls or potholes on your street don't get fixed because this gas tax holiday took the money for the repairs and also possibly could put even more workers out of jobs (won't be able to pay the ones who actually repair the roads), let me know then how that little bit helped you.

    BTW – I'm not well off and struggle at the pump as much as the next guy. But listen to the "independent economists" who have no allegiance to either party. They all state is a bad idea and could drive up cost even more.

    May 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Liz

    He is doing better than he should. I cant believe that people still support him this much. I guess that some people are not good reading between the lines. If the shoe were on the other foot Hillary and McCain would be done. After 20 years of listening to Reverend Wright, Obama says that he doesn't "subscribe" to the thoughts and feelings of the reverend? Why was he there than, just for show? Is this how good a listener this guy is? Is this how he is going to listen as president? Oh and how about his wife she sounds to me like she "subscribes' to the reverends thoughts, didn't she say that " for the first time in my life I'm proud of this country? I just don't trust this guy. At least with McCain we know what to expect, and Hillary she is just so much more prepared for this job that I cant understand why people don't see it. Just wait until Reverend Wright pops his head up again,
    hopefully it will be before the primary's are over, because if Obama wins over Hillary than we are going to have McCain for the next 4 years. Wake up people read between the lines he is just a politician.
    GO HILLARY GO !!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. bdc

    still calling for this even after everyone says it's a bad idea... thats foreshadowing if I've ever heard it

    May 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. mitch from ark.

    he just doesn't get it! what a numbskull!

    May 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Cindy Lou

    And I will be unyielding in voting against this man. I want the soldiers out of Iraq–he wants to set up a permanent base. Not my kind of president.

    May 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Al

    Mike – Getting rid of the gas tax will only make gas prices go up. So in reality, you're not saving anything. Time for you to remove your lips from Hillary's behind and get with the times. And come out of the closet. No real man would support Hillary.

    May 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Margie

    If they Barrack is the democractic nominee, McCain will be the president, they can wait for healing all they want, but from what I am hearing (I live in Pennslyvania) the predictions is McCain will be the president, we are told that Wright shouldn't be an issue, well sorry it is, 20 years is an awfully long time to display such bad judgement that include choosing a pastor who preaches hatred to your children, the bitter remarks and oh yea, if a girl makes a mistake she shouldn't be punished with a child. Oh and I wonder who the the people and Flordia and michigan are going to vote for knowing that O'bama did not want their votes to count at the last election...?If Barrack is the deocratic nominee I will turn the channel when he is on and wait for the nest election.

    May 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Griff

    A Dollar in the Pocket. is better than a Dream

    May 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. truthurts

    Obama voted for something like this in 2000 in Illinois. Guess what? It didn't work. So this time around he knows to not offer the same plan because it failed the first time. No one with a half a brain would believe a windfall tax wouldn't be offset by higher gas prices in the fall.

    Terrible idea...but some americans will eat it up. OBAMA has to do a better job throwing the numbers out their so people can see how they are being hoodwinked...

    May 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. Steve

    Simple anwser,,, the gasoline companies will just raise the price of gas to cancel out the gas tax! How stupid can we get! Go Obama



    May 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Chi4Obama

    Shame on CNN for posting the following blog above from :

    "Cam of Kentucky:"
    Neither that BOY nor that GAL will be running the White House of this US of A. McCain 08
    This is the type of racism and sexism that should not be tolerated in this country. Hey Cam, what are you going to do when either "that boy", or "that Gal" is sworn into the oval office....

    Go Democrats!

    May 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Tim

    Paul Vs Clinton??? What gives???

    May 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Mike,Iowa

    I think the federal gas tax holiday is just plain patronizing to the consumers. what are they supposed to do before and after the summer? Like Obama said a quick fix that could cost us more money in the end.

    May 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Stacy Clarks

    can someone tell McCain to just disappear, he is irrelevant!

    May 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Remember, our current President (just recently renowned as having worst ratings in history) was also dogmatic in his beliefs – no matter how many people told him his position was wrong.

    For all you Clinton or Obama supporters,
    IF your candidate doesn't get the nomination, just remember how much it cost to buy gas, put food on the table, pay for healthcare. Then think, do I really want more of the same?

    May 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. GL

    This from the man who admits he doesn't know much about economics? Good grief we're doomed...

    May 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. NOBAMA

    The hypocrisy in the country makes me want to vomit...

    We whine about high gas prices, yet we still drive around in gas guzzling SUVs and hot rods.

    Instead of looking at alternative methods of transportation (car pools, hybrids, bikes, public transport, etc...) Americans complain that solution inconveniences them and drive their gas guzzlers up like sheep to the pump and fill up while cursing and blaming the government it is their fault that gas prices are so high....never bothering to think that always increasing demand against limited supply could actually be driving the prices up????

    May 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Tony B B.C.Mich

    If Big oil was making money 5 years before the war in Iraq and gas and oil, were still used for the same purposes, and if Big oil was making money when the war began in Iraq, and they are still making money a record highs to this date, And hightway and transportation were also doing the same functions, then I believe that a Back To The Past 5 years ago Tax break should be proposed................... We can do anything elese, I KNOW WE CAN TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO 2.45 A GALLON!!!!!!

    May 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    May 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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