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. Rosanne

    As a died-in-the wool Democrat, I have to say that it's idiotic to me that anyone who believes in the Democratic message can even consider voting for John McCain. And I wish those Demos even thinking that would take BIG BIG step back and look at what that statement means. Speaking out before we think is so damaging to our cause.....I urge ALL Democrats to think twice and three times before doing something so dangerous as voting for McCain. We simply can't afford that.
    rosanne cohn, Redmond Washington

    June 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. John McCain For President

    did he say that would fix the energy crises you idiot(jon)? He's saying its a little relief for a split second until we can have time to fix this completely....its called stimulating....its not going to fix anything but we have to lower cost and quick, its a way to buy time for american citizens....its a good move to make, but its not meant to be permanent..

    June 9, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Why isn't he in the Senate proposing this now?

    Oh, because it's political pandering. Carry on.

    June 9, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. R.I.F.

    This proves that McCain is out of touch. This plan is stupid and 110% pandering. Hillary got hammered on this and you see she stopped talking about it because she knew it was a gimmick that backfired. Now McCain, the creator of this idea is bringing it back. BAD MOVE!!! I guess when you're a republican you have to try any and everything.


    June 9, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. the 1st Mrs. McCain is a Hero

    ......... McPANDER is a useless old FOOL .........

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. John in NY

    Question to Obamarers: Don't take this as it is coming from an Obama supporter. I supported Edwards. You really need to grow up. I have no problem with someone voting for Mccain based on the issues, but to say you support Clinton and then say you will vote Mccain makes no sense at all.

    You want to vote Mccain bc someone said something mean to you on the internet?? Are you for real? Yeah, that will teach them!!!!

    Go ahead and cut off your own nose to spite you face. That will teach them a lesson, whoever they are.

    I only hope that justice is served once you do that.

    Justice would be you and your family getting to fight in the latest McWar.

    Justice would be your family losing your jobs to free trade agreements.

    Justice would be your family being unable to afford your health care. No don't say your company pays for it bc McCain wants to change that. I bet you didn't know.

    Justice would be you losing your home as Mccain says "So What?"

    Let us hope justice is served as you teach America a lesson.

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Peter E

    Ooo, it's McCain's plan! Therefore it's wasteful spending that drives up deficits. But look at Obama's plan instead. It's a short term deficit package. But since it's Obama's it MUST be considered an 'economic boost!' Yay for double-standards!

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |

    The guy is clueless when it comes to the Economy.

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Chris NH

    Quick questions for McCain...

    How much was a barrel of Oil in March 2003?

    How much was a Gallon of Gas in March 2003?

    How much was the dollar worth compared globally in March 2003?

    Gimmicks DON'T FIX fundamental (and persisting) errors in judgment!

    And these are just the Pocketbook issues related to this mans "judgment 'and "experiance".

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Bob/NH

    This guy just doesn't get it...A summer tax break at the pumps means nothing. I don't want to pay these prices indefinitely and I want to know what Democrats & Republicans are going to do about it – Don't care if they do it separately or together. THEY NEED TO PERMANENTLY RESOLVE THIS – WITHOUT BANDAIDS.

    June 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. johnosahon

    this man was probably asleep during the democratic party, didn't President Obama explain this issue during the indiana primary? McPannderer

    June 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. molly

    man, is this guy for real, treat yourself with a nice dinner, how much 20 bucks, God help us,

    June 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. MIKE

    For you Obamamorons who think McCain is light on the economy. Where exactly is mr "CHANGE" going to come up with the extra 50 Billion dollars he wants to pump into the economy. Oh Wait, that's right ,raise taxes. Sounds like typical business as usual to me.

    June 9, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Timothy

    To all Hillary's supporters, who are Democratics and said "that they will not vote for Obama" who Hillary has fully put her support behind you are going against what Hillary Clinton stands for. Think about that. All what Hillary Clinton wants for all Democratics not to vote for Mccain Hillary said "that will be a big misstake".

    June 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Lola

    People you might save a few dollars but come Oct the oil companies are going to let you have it $6.00 or maybe $8.00 per gallon-what you might earn for a day will be all lost- Today $20.00 in a market will probably get you 5 to 6 items. Maybe a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and maybe some lunch meat. We need long term solutions to address the problem.

    June 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |

    A vote for Obama is not a vote for Hillary, Hillary is not on his ticket.

    Clinton support voting for Mccain

    June 9, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Ingvy

    Hey McCain: Want cheaper gas? Then how about dropping all the bellicose talk about Iran!!!!!!! The fear of war (and major supply disruptions and/or embargo) make up roughly 30% of the current price of oil.

    Dropping the Iran tough talk will do far more to reduce gas prices than any suspension of the gas tax.

    Of course, I don't expect you to understand this as even you admit to knowing nothing about economics.


    June 9, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Give me a break

    Sorry Mike, strategy won't work in 2012, because many of us who know that Hillary supporters are voting for McCain out of spite in 2008 would never vote for Hillary in 2012.

    June 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. ???

    Why do Hillary supporters want Obama to lose so badly? Hmmm, that reeks of spite. It's one thing to hope McCain wins and quite another to hope Barack loses. You know what, go ahead, pack up your toys and let the adults vote.

    June 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Doug R.

    More pandering from the flip flopping McCain. This man will tell anyone anything to get a vote.
    Remember all...under the Bush administration, the price of gasoline has goe up nearly 300%!! Do the math.

    June 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Bret C

    Arghhh !

    I live in PA. The last thing we need is even less money to fix our roads. Why take a dedicated funding source and screw with it ? Do you realize everyones Bill from damage done to our Cars will far outweigh $30 ?

    How about MN where that Bridge fell down ? I'm sure they will absolutely love this idea !

    June 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Peter E

    I have to warn Obama supporters: your hate-fest may have worked against Hillary, but it will work against you for McCain. But if you think that name-calling (put 'Mc' in front of insulting words... very clever... and so mature...) is the way you want to demonstrate Obama's 'positive' message of 'change' then by all means continue. Just don't whine in November when McCain will run circles around Obama in the electoral count!

    June 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. shelly

    Remember all Hillary supporters a vote for John McCain is the end of your right to choose. Two of our wonderful justices, Ruth ginsberg and John Paul Stevens are looking to retire and if they do during a McCain presidency he will insert 2 conservative judges in there place and Roe V. Wade will be over turned and women will lose their rights to what they will with there own bodies. Remember a Vote for Obama is a vote for your reproductive rights

    June 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    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.

    We won't be voting for Obama because Hillary tells us to. I know YOU do as you're told, but there really are some people who think out there.

    Not your cup of tea, I know...

    June 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Tim in Carroll, IA

    Another old idea from the old war horse! Offered only in another cynical attempt to kiss up to Hillary Clinton supporters. If you Clinton supporters need any more convincing that McCain will say and do anything to continue Bush's failed policies, ask yourself this: On who's watch did gas prices skyrocket out of control? BUSH. Why? Because all of his oil buddies are making money! Who recently met behind closed doors begging for money from Bush's oil buddies? McCAIN!!!! When McCain talks about change, he obviously means the chump change he can pick up from BUSH and his buddies. Why would any Democrat, Independent, or voter, buy into McCain's obvious pandering. Things must be desparate over at McCain HQ.

    June 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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