June 9th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain resurrects call for gas tax holiday


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/28/art.mccain1.ap.jpg caption=" McCain regularly called for a gas tax holiday in April and May."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - With gas prices reaching a national average of four dollars a gallon - a record high - John McCain is planning to resurrect his call for a national gas tax holiday, which became a staple of his stump speech in late April and early May.

A McCain aide told CNN's Dana Bash on Monday that the Arizona senator planned to plug the gas tax holiday in public statements throughout the day as a message to voters that he understands the plight of working families in a tough economy.

Before a fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia on Monday, McCain mentioned the gas tax holiday in remarks to a smaller event for about 40 high-dollar donors. "That was derided by Sen. Obama and others as a gimmick," McCain said, but added that working people and truckers would appreciate it.

"I don't pretend that it's an answer to our energy problems," he said.

Gas prices have risen more than 10 percent from $3.671 a month ago and are nearly 29 percent higher than the $3.105 average a year ago, according to AAA figures.

McCain's original gas tax holiday proposal called for suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hillary Clinton supported a similar proposal during her Democratic primary bid.

Along with Barack Obama, many economists largely dismissed the notion of a gas tax holiday as a political ruse that would do little to lower prices, but McCain has repeatedly said he does not believe the proposal would be a panacea for America’s energy woes.

Instead, McCain argued, low-income families could save some extra cash to pay for their children’s school supplies this fall, or perhaps treat themselves to a nice dinner.

UPDATE: Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan blasted McCain for continuing to push the plan.

"By touting a gas tax holiday as part of his proposal for economic recovery in Virginia today, Senator McCain proved he was right when he said he doesn't understand the economy as well as he needs to," he said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Jenny

    The more I read calling the Clinton supporters dumb, illiterate, white trash, the more convinced that I become to vote for McCain. I respect ALL VOTERS! An idea that Obama Democrats seem to have forgotten!

    June 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Justin

    It wont do me any good here in Nevada anyway. If the feds take away the take the state will raise their tax to cover it. It is their way of protecting that federal highway money. I am sure Nevada is not the only state that has a law like that put into place.

    June 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Chelle

    @ Sean June 9th, 2008 2:25 pm ET

    Bravo, excellent post.

    June 9, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Will in Richmond, VA

    Can you believe it? This is the guy all the disgruntled Hillary supporters want instead of Obama. Obama, who hasn't done anything but take a position favorable to 90% of the people, even those that won't vote for him. Obama, who even Clinton has said differs from her very little on any policy. Obama, who has himself been gracious and forthright on every issue.

    McCain is clueless on the economy, hardheaded on the war, and questionable on his dedication to any issue. He flips more than Wringling Brothers.

    June 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Baida

    I have started talking to my wife and my kids on how we can spend this 18Cents break. Any idea (s) to help me how to mange and better spending this 18 cents, I am so desperate?

    June 9, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "no good choice now June 9th, 2008 2:18 pm ET

    I'd give Obama a chance… but so MUCH rancor and vitriol from his camp. And so much arrogance and boastfulness from the great Obama himself."
    I agree that many of these bloggers can get pretty nasty. It's also true from Hillary's and McCain's supporters. McCain's supporters tend to be the most racist, while Obama's supporters tend to be more sexist.

    Unfortunately, that's part of the problem with the internet. These people are anonymous, so they can say anything they want and get away with it.

    But try to remember, you're not voting for the supporters, you're voting for the candidate. Just focus on the issues, and pick the candidate that best reflects your values. Ignore the supporters, because there are plenty of idiots to go around.

    June 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Unshrub

    Does that mean we are going to stop repaining our highways for the summer? Or do we borrow some more money. Maybe the Democrats WERE called the spend party in the past, but the republicans are now called the BORROW party. What a dumb idea.

    June 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |


    June 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Susan

    Still a worthless suggestion. What about the road crews that will get laid off ih this sutpid idea goes through? This is the best he can offer? No gas tax, a coninutation of war , and the the US economy is sound? Ane people will vote for this clown??? Get a life!!!

    June 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    June 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Anna

    only 40+ dollars get tax holiday? whatelse Mr. McCain? only those who vote you get tax holiday, only those who are repubs get tax holiday? Clinton supporters who want to vote for McSame get tax holiday?

    Obama 08/12

    June 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Pandering....right out of the Hillary playbook...

    June 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. jr

    No this plan will not make much difference for the average person who can't live without their gas guzzler. But it can make a great deal of difference for the over the road haulers. Prices on the shelf are a direct reflection of rising freight hauling costs. Freight hauling costs continue upward as a direct result of higher pump prices for diesel fuel. Help the truckers and help yourself, even if for a short while.

    June 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. jimmy velman



    June 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. IslandGyal

    We got rid of one panderer now another emerges. I guess he didn't learn form the Clinton smack down. Her narrative was to attack anyone who didn't agree with her nonsense as elitist; what is his going to be?

    June 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. David Bailey

    I would just like to ask that everyone ignore all comments written by those who claim they used to support Hillary and now support McCain. If they are presenting themselves honestly, then they are clearly bitter about the outcome of the Dem nomination race and their criticisms of Obama should therefore be taken with a grain of salt.

    However, I expect that it will become more and more the case as the campaign wears on that commenters claiming to be Hillary/McCain supporters are really folks who have been true McCain/Bush supporters all along, who are acting in bad faith in order to undermine Obama (Republicans behaving dishonestly - shocking I know).

    Caveat emptor.

    June 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Justin from West Haven, CT

    Gas tax holiday= more money having to spent repairing roads later on

    June 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. Chelle

    @ Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter June 9th, 2008 2:52 pm ET

    "Clearly, you all don't get it. We supported Hillary because of her well thought solutions – we don't blindly worship famous people-that would be you.

    If her ideas and solutions have been rejected, we will go elsewhere."

    You mean the one just like this one? That everyone, including th experts said would not work? And how well thought out was it?

    Just as you think that you have been insulted as a Clinton supporter, so do some of us Obama supporters. To imply that our support for him is simply worship of famous people is very simplistic and insulting. There are many reasons why I am an Obama supporter, but "worship" is not one of them. Is he perfect? No. Does he have some great qualities to be admired? Yes. Do I think he'll be a great president? Yes. Is Clinton perfect? No. Does she have some great qualities to be admired? Yes. The bottom line is....she LOST the nomination. Now it's time to move forward and beyond juvenile accusations and arguments. This election is too important and there's too much at stake.

    If you genuinely believe that McCain will be better than Obama, then by all means vote FOR him. But voting AGAINST Obama because your candidate didn't win, or because of what any "blogger/supporter" might say is rather ridiculous.

    June 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. Sunburn

    McCain is out of touch with today's America. We need Barack Obama, not yesterday's politics.

    June 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. p from bg

    Buy Yourself a bag of Fries or a pencil. Right generous of ya Admiral!
    Now hop on your wifes plane and fly to mars.

    June 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Chelle

    @ Brian from Fort Mill, S.C. June 9th, 2008 3:36 pm ET

    Thanks for your post. It is amazing to me that someone would not vote for a candidate based on what their supporters may or may not say. There are plenty of people on these blogs that are simply here to stir up confusion and are not true supporters of the candidates that they claim to support.

    If anyone is claiming to not vote for a candidate based on being upset by what their supporters say, maybe they really weren't going to vote for that candidate anyway?

    June 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Ted

    And what about states that have a sales tax on gasoline such as California? The benefit of a sales tax for California government is that is an extreme windfall profit for them since it is not fixed at a per gallon amount, but based on the amount of the total sale. Glad I don't live there anymore.

    June 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Clinton Supporter

    Hmmm...someone suggests that Hillary supporters stay home – this from an Obama supporter. Naughty, naughty, your hero wouldn't like that. He wants a free ride on Hillary's shoulders. She gets to brush him off this time around. Remember, only a few Hillary supporters need stay home or vote for McCain-the race is literally that close.

    We've also been warned here that staying at home is equal to a vote for McCain. So Hillary supporters out there, we really do have a choice. Stay home. Vote McCain. Our Obama friends tell us these are equally effective actions. Thanks for the tip. Let's do what the Obama folks want. I vote for Stay Home – gas prices being what they are.

    Even though Obama promised us all no less than $50 BILLION in new incentives just today in North Carolina- courtesy of the Chinese treasury. What a forward looking guy that Obama is. I'm almost sorry I won't be voting for him.

    June 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. John Smith

    My fear is that Hillary attracted so many 'ignorant and uneduacted" voters that there is NO point for Obama to try to win these folks. These are the folks who put Bush in office, they are the folks who are high in debt, they are the folks who always vote against their personal short- and long-term interests!

    June 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Rob K

    And those chilren, school supplies in tow, are more likely to have a bridge collapse under their school bus if we gut the budget for infrastructure. Of course, it will also be harder for the families with construction workers to afford that "nice dinner" (how out of touch...blue-collar families are so far in debt that a dinner out is the last thing on the priority list) when the seasonal construction job is pulled, because "the budget dried up".

    This idea, like this candidate, is intellectually bankrupt and dependant on people's ignorance.

    June 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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