August 4th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama calls for tapping nation's strategic oil reserves

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Obama officially unveiled his energy plan Monday."]
(CNN) - Barack Obama on Monday called for tapping into strategic oil reserves as part of his plan to provide relief from high gas prices.

Watch: Obama hits McCain on energy

Speaking before a crowd in Lansing, Michigan, the senator from Illinois called the country's addiction to oil "one of the most dangerous and urgent threats this nation has ever faced."

Obama unveiled his energy plan, which includes a windfall profits tax on big oil corporations that would be used to provide a $1,000 rebate to people struggling with high energy costs.

The Democratic presidential candidate also wants to create 5 million "green" jobs and eliminate the need for oil from the Middle East within 10 years.

"You won't hear me say this too often, but I couldn't agree more with the explanation that Sen. McCain offered a few weeks ago. He said, 'Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been 30 years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country,' " Obama said.

"What Sen. McCain neglected to mention was that during those 30 years, he was in Washington for 26 of them. And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said.

Listen: Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor - reportedly a possible Republican VP pick - discusses Obama's energy policy on a McCain campaign conference call.

Obama's call for tapping into strategic oil reserves is an apparent policy shift.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. fred

    Here's an idea that would work. Let's say that offshore drilling produces oil in 7 years. How about we tap into the reserve tank now, and in 7 years when we get this new offshore oil, we fill the emergency reserve up with that oil. Therefore, prices would decrease now, and they would decrease even more after 7 years, when we have oil from offshore. However, I wouldn't tap into the emergency reserves until we know that we are drilling offshore, so we know that we'll have oil to fill the emergency tanks back up, without having to buy it from oversees to refill it. Make sense?

    August 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. John G

    The oil reserve contains 70 million barrels. We use 20 million barrels every day according to We have enough oil on reserve to get us through to Thursday at noon. What happens at 12:01 Thursday afternoon?

    How about we address the real problem. Drill our own oil. Increase nuclear power. Research alternatives and gradually wean off the oil and nuclear as the alternatives become viable?

    August 4, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. KenB, MI


    August 4, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Gwen

    Dear House Divided,

    Go take your meds, you're dillusional. Barack is responsible for uplifting the Democratic Party. Before he came along we were getting ready to vote for a liar, and a fiscally irresponsible person, Hillary Clinton. So if anyone has divided the party, talk to the Clintons.

    Bill knows he was wrong and he has been apologizing ever since.

    August 4, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    If you keep naming off ideas, you will hit on one that resonates with your wife before the election. Good grief. Just another politician. How about if we all just push our cars to work and make-believe we are having dinner?

    August 4, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Scott L

    Dumb dumb move. Prices won't even whimper when this happens and he will look like a fool. Drill NOW in the US. Drill here, drill now! What don't you people get?

    August 4, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Griff

    Flip and Flop! The Obama Twins...

    August 4, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. R.Deezy

    Happy birthday Barry!!! We love you and wish you the very best. Change the world baby!!!

    August 4, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Ian

    Obama voted to tap our phone lines, so why not tap the oil reserves?

    August 4, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Right Angle

    Both ways Barrack, he wants both sides of an issue!

    Talk talk ...blah blah...the spineless wonder speaks...

    August 4, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Leslie


    All of the Republicans who were making a grand stand on tv today of course did not vote for bills that put money in the pockets of big oil, right?

    August 4, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Raymond Duke

    This is a stupid Idea. Taking Oil from the strategic oil supply will do nothing. When Bush came out with authorizing the drilling of oil on the continential shelf and Anwr the price has dropped . I can not stand Bush but it worked. If the democrats would vote for this in congress in one month the gas prices would be in the two dollar range. The mideastern fanatical countrys know they have only one weapon ,oil. If we drill and use our own resources and seek other energies they are screwed and they know it. Obama wants to keep the oil at a shortage because he is tied in with the BIO-FUELS you know the program that has driven up food prices and starving his black kinfolk in the african nations. I guess that is a good plan to the liberals and blacks as l;long as Black liberal canidate thinks it is ok.

    August 4, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. auto worker in Michigan

    As a auto worker in Michigan Obama is full of hot air....Many of us do not support him. He made empty promises to the auto workers in Lansing today. He has no clue how to fix the auto mess in Michigan anymore then he can run this country...McCain will have mine and many more dems in Michigans vote. Because we trust McCain and we do not trust Obama and Obama has no experience in politics....

    August 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Obomination Patrol

    This man is a socialist, pure and simple. He thinks he can TAX our way of energy dependence! He is another Jimmy Carter! Who needs it?? Wake up people, the guy has become drunki on his own coolaide. If you think taxing oil companies who are subject to the same market forces as the airlines when it comes to paying high prices for oil is going to solve the problem, you're living in the 18th Century. Production is the answer, and that means INVESTMENT.

    August 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Always for Hill, but now for McSame

    I am not Racist!! – Really I am not. I am not a snob!!! I just can’t stand to see the Democratic party actually succeed in a national election. Also, I only support whiners.

    McSame ‘08
    Hillary ’12 – not really!!!

    August 4, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Lili, FL

    Flipping more than Flipper!

    Maybe he should ask John Kerry to be his running mate, since Edwards is too busy with his girlfriend!

    NoBama 08

    August 4, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Obama Flip Flop

    and will this also go unnoticed ?

    Mr Obama changes his mind frequently based on the public mood, not what his principles are. Is he a politician ?

    August 4, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Sammy

    I wouldnt touch the reserves because oil prices are already falling every day. So far its down %18 from a couple weeks ago. However its the age old problem of rising like a rocket and falling like a feather and gas prices are only down 5%. So if anything its the oil companies still trying to make as much money while they can. Releasing from the reserves isnt going to make a barrel of oil drop any faster....... or make the oil companies lower gas prices any faster either.

    August 4, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. anthony

    There are still people who thought Obama stole the nomination? Obama has more elected delegates and superdelegates, no matter how the delegations from Michigan and Florida are seated, and people still believe that he stole the nomination? The reason Hillary lost is because she did not compete in the caucus states and more than 40 percent of white females in the Democratic primary did not vote for her. Hillary's supporters can cry sexism all they want, but her own demographic group cost her the nomination. They can cry media bias all they want, but the media do not force people to vote against Hillary. The more Hillary's supporters attacked the media, the more the media will be against her in the future. And yes, the media will still be there in 2012.

    August 4, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. karen-phoenix

    I listened this morning to his whole energy policy and it is the ONLY thing that will work!!!! We should have done what Brazil did 30 years ago to get off foreign oil but NO Regan was backed by big oil. Please, please do not get sucked into that again. McCain has had 26 years to change the policy and didn't. Let Obama and his team change things in this country and we might beable to survive!!!! Republican voting for Obama!!! Do NOT listen to the republican ads. Smear tackticks!!
    I'm sooo ashamed of the republican party!

    August 4, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. CB FOR OB

    Oh boy BO hit a nerve today.

    Obama 08

    August 4, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. kevin

    Hold on, just had to check the latest polls to see what Obama was going to say next! Holy COW, what will this man not say or shift on next to get elected? You Hillary supporters shout be outraged now that he wants all of the votes counted in Michigan and Fla. UNVBELIEVABLE..GOD help us if this man get's elected!!

    August 4, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Nolonger Republican Obamacan all the way 08

    I’m a republican voting for Obama; let me make something clear, the Republican Party is not above lying! Notice how McCain is nothing but double take and criticizing Obama with a lot of half truth. McCain is insulting the American people, he and his campaign really think that we cannot see or read between the lines. He wants to do what Bush has done. He wants to let us the people solve our energy problem with no help or incentive from the Government. Meaning more money for the Oil companies who come up with energy plans that will profit them first then TRICKLE DOWN TO US THE PEOPLE. Who does that sound like? BUSH! The big tax brakes for large companies did not result in more jobs for the people, not to mention the fact that Bush and McCain want free trade do all the companies who got the tax brakes sent the trickle down jobs overseas to other country for fewer wages, get the picture!

    August 4, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Dragon Lady

    WHAT ? He just noticed that Americans (voters) are having a difficult time ! HELLO ! Where has he been? Posing for pictures.
    Also, the blame does not go on Senator McCain alone. Past Presidents, Senate AND Congress have had their chances for more than the LAST 30 years to resolve this problem. We had a "energy crisis" back in the 1970's ! What were they doing then, sleeping. Its' just like the CEO's in the American Auto industry. What are they paid big $$ for. The HAND WRITING has been on the "WALL" for a long time. Where are the energy efficient cars? They should have known what the Asians and Europeans have known for the last 100 years. FUEL is expensive, build smaller more efficient autos. This "blabber" is NOT about what HE will do for you its about getting your VOTE so he can get lots of $$ when his term is over. Its ALL about $$ This is why we are in the mess we are in. Politicians are only looking for your vote so THEY can make MONEY, NOT help the AMERICAN VOTER or our country! WAKE UP – SMELL the REQUEST for WHAT IT IS.

    August 4, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Moderate for O

    There seems to be a whole lot of finger pointing without rational thought in these comments. Yes, Obama has done a 360 on his previous position. But yes, every solution to this crisis is going to drawbacks. Despite his faults, I am impressed that Obama is using good judgement and taking the input of knowledgable parties to heart.

    Opening Reserves: Pro-Immediate and long term impact on prices. Con-Drain emergency reserves slightly (even though they are at a record high.

    Tax Holiday: Pro-Immediate and very short impact on prices. Con-Further detrimate to a struggling economy (our #1 issue)

    Drilling: Pro-Impact on prices years down the line. Con-Immediate and VERY detrimental effect on environment. Also, distraction from ideas to lower dependency (ie-effecient cars)

    Look at the facts. No right answer but definitely informed ones.

    August 4, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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