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. Hello!!!

    Yet ANOTHER one of Hillary's plans.......dems are fools.....

    August 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Rita of Dallas

    I am a firm believer that we need alternative energy sources. McCain is now bashing Obama for his energy plan. What about his comment in a town hall meeting right after the Pa. primaries. He said we needed to break our dependence on Middle Eastern Oil so that our youn men and women would not have to go to the Middle East and die for oil. That is what McCain said. The media sure hasn't said anything about this. Wonder why. I doubt that this even gets posted, as everytime I bring it up, I get censored. McCain has had 26 years to make changes and I just don't see them.

    August 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Ed

    Obama calls the energy situation a crisis, yet resists allowing the development of more energy reserves right here in the U.S.

    Obama wants to have a windfall profits tax to fund energy aid for poor people. Energy aid may have some merits, and maybe we should discuss it. But the way to pay for it is not to levy an additional tax solely on the only companies capable of getting us more badly-needed enegy.

    Why stop at big oil? Oil industry profit margins are less than the entertainment, cosmetic, luxury goods and pharmaceutical industries. Does profit = evil? Only communists and socialists and economic idiots believe that. Which one is Obama?

    Obama wants to pull oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to provide price relief. A category 5 hurricane hitting Houston and knocking out 1/4 of domestic refinery capacity would be an energy emergency. Iran shutting down the Strait of Hormuz and the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf would be an energy emergency. $4 gas in an election year is not an emergency. Opening the reserve is worse pandering than the gas tax holiday Clinton and McCain put forth which Obama trashed as pandering.

    Which all goes to show, Obama looks good and speaks well (at least when his teleprompter is working), but he's all packaging and no product, no substance. He is so ignorant of how the world gets its energy it would be comical if he wasn't a presidential candidate.

    August 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. lila

    Quoting the Arizona Republican as saying that "our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making," Obama leveled one of the more direct criticisms he's offered in this campaign.

    "What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them," said the Senator. "And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He voted against increased fuel efficiency standards and opposed legislation that included tax credits for more efficient cars. He voted against renewable sources of energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind power. Against an energy bill that - while far from perfect - represented the largest investment in renewable sources of energy in the history of this country. So when Senator McCain talks about the failure of politicians in Washington to do anything about our energy crisis, it's important to remember that he's been a part of that failure."

    Obama needs to keep saying it until people have it in the front of their heads.

    August 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Phil Republican from MA

    Way to go Obama! Why don't you learn something about our country and its strategic supply....Its there for serious emergencies like natural disasters and war..... No cause some cry babies like your gansta buddies like TI drive gas guzzling suvs. You're an idiot Obama.

    Vote McCain 08!

    August 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Former Repub

    Happy B-Day BO!!!
    Next one will be at the White House!

    This quote says it best:

    "On the one hand we have Obama offering a $1000 citizen energy rebate, a windfall profits tax on rich oil companies, 5 million green jobs and independence from Middle East oil dependency in 10 years. On the other hand, we have McCain offering a tire gauge, peeks at Britney and Paris, and a cameo by John's old buddy, Moses. This is going to be a very difficult decision"

    OBAMA 08'

    August 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Hello!!!

    Great point, Rocky.

    August 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Ron democrat turned independent

    if sen. obama told you what T BOONE actually said was that the urgency of getting independent of foreign oil is the danger of Iran going to war with Israel or the USA thereby cutting off our supply of oil he also said in a CNN interview he was in favour of drilling for oil, using coal nuclear or any other energy till we find a way to become independent of fossil purposely mislead the public is ridiculous as he should know it will be brought out nd again he will lose credibility. using our reserves to get favor from the public and further his own agenda shows a great lack of judgment by putting the nation in jeopardy to accomplish a short term relief that he as repeatedly ridiculed McCain for

    August 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. J.M.C.H.W.A.C.

    Whatever works, senator! We're behind you all the way.

    August 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Tammy - KCMO

    "McCain is expected to spend Monday focusing on small business while in Pennsylvania. He'll turn his attention to energy at an event in Michigan this week. On Tuesday, he'll visit the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant outside Detroit for an event promoting his call for an increase in similar plants."

    Funny, I heard he was spending time in Sturgis, South Dakota today to enjoy drunken debauchery, public stripteasing, motorcycle rallying, and a live performance by Kid Rock.

    August 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Brian

    CNN, you're not helping yourself. Posting this twice just highlights your Obama bias. Quick, get something about McCain posted before you are discredited!

    August 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. American en canada



    August 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Dave in Chicago

    Tapping the strategic oil reserve is only good for Obama's campaign. What does he do down the road if Ahmadinejad of Iran makes good on his threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and forces a real oil shortage. His thinking is short sighted and politically motivated.

    August 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Ken in LA

    Does anyone really thing Obama is anything more than a populist politician who will say anything to get elected? Now he wants to use our strategic oil reserve to buy some votes. All that hype about change. Give me a break.

    August 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Bill from ALabama

    McCain has done and done it,(Obama ,CNN) where have you been. Nuts!

    August 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. wake up

    we will see results in two weeks

    August 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. The all seeing eye

    I've been reading these posts here for quite some time now and it seems that there are some apparent consistencies. It is apparent that there are definitely a lot of bloggers who post themselves under different names to start up controversy and get other bloggers worked up. More importantly, however, is some people who seem to be first time bloggers who are very narrow-minded and don't understand the dynamics of "the big picture" and only post that- no this is a stupid idea or this will never work- when they themselves don't know what they are talking about. There are others who claim to want change from Bush and the Republicans and everything that has happened for the past eight years but then they expect Obama to run the same political campaigns that have led us to the situation we are in now. It is not a sign of weakness to compromise. Now I will say that Obama may change his views in some occasions to gain a political advantage but this particular issue shows a willingness to compromise for a solution, not for political gain. If you truly want him to be stubborn and unwilling to bend on his issues then what you really want is another candidate like the idiot we have in office right now that says it's my way or the highway. Besides what politician do you know has never done that? Now a lot of people also talk about his lack of experience. What experience qualifies someone to be president? McCain's experience in the senate have been that he has his political views and he has stuck with them for the past 20 some odd years and now that he is running for election he is willing to compromise? Old habits die hard....

    Everyone needs to wake up and stop taking what the media feeds to you as fact. People run like a business, for their own self interest. That includes journalists as well. Ask yourself in your own workplace, have I ever disagreed with my boss? Have I ever complained about him in some way? Don't you think journalists are people too and no matter how hard they may try at some point one of their reports will be biased? Most americans don't give a lick about politics and if you asked them in the street to name the candidate they want to vote for and his views on the issues, most of them wouldn't be able to name them all let alone three and they want to give their opinion on who is experienced???? Let's first educate ourselves and really analyze what we want and how complex some of these issues are before making an opinion.

    August 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Truth


    August 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Sacto Joe

    This makes good sense. Therefore, the Republicans are against it.

    August 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. becky

    McCain, Bush and the Republicans have not done one good thing in 8 years for the American people. They created this mess we are in with the war, oil, economy....and now they want Obama to take the back lash. McCain wants you to believe he is our savior, he has helped do this to us and now he wants to save us, LOL McCain wants to save us from him and the Bush policies. How crazy is this. The Rep. are even mad because they went home before the energy bill was voted on. Why the rush now McCain... you had 23 years to fix this mess. Why now?

    August 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Willow, from Iowa

    Obama has a huge amount of policies and incentives listed on his website. McCain has three pages, none of which have policies listed. For everybody that says Obama doesn't know what he's doing, go to his website and read his policies and ideas. They are listed there page after page. McCain doesn't have any policies listed on any website.

    Obama has a lot of ideas, lots of policies. This is the person with the judgment to be POTUS.

    Obama 08/12

    August 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Ron democrat turned independent

    obamanites have a new excuse word

    republican who canges mind is a flip floper

    a democrat who changes mind is showing flexability


    August 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Bob

    This is a 30 day reserve. It will only temporarily increase the supply How will that change our dependency ? We must in the short term (10-15 years) increase our own production, while at the same time ramp up other methods of producing and consuming energy.

    Think about it, It takes a minimum of 10 years to cycle a car through its entire consumer lifespan. Not everyone will be able to afford a new car. People who cannot afford new technologies will carry the burden of these No-Drill policies, not the rich. His $1000 rebate from a windfall profits tax will just be eaten away by the higher prices that will be charged at the pumps.

    I want to hear "No New Taxes", "No Tax Increases" out of our politians. When we out here in America get a raise, the country gets a raise.

    August 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. jo

    this is a future, be on board.

    August 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Tom

    Tapping the US reserves makes little to no sense. To lower our countries contigency plan against major interruptions to the nation's oil supply will hang us out to dry, and in the long run will only help to raise prices, as we will have to remove oil from the market to build back up the supply. The only way it could even be a remote consideration is if in the next year we significantly reduced our dependency on foriegn oil, which is very unlikely. Also a windfall tax on oil companies would yeild $0. If you take the profits of the oil companies and divide it by the revenues then you find they are only making around an 8% profit margin, which is too low to be considered a windfall. As prices go up revenue may increase, but the percent that is profit will remain the similar. Although 11 billion dollars may seem like a lot, an 8% profit margin is hardly considered a windfall profit. An additional point is that millions of Americans hold the oil companies stocks in their 401K's.
    Solution: Although this view would be widely hated, we really need to do nothing to add to the supply of Oil. In the 1970's a huge crisis resulted when oil hit $40 dollars a barrel. As a result many of the fuel efficiencies that we find in todays cars were developed. By leaving the price of oil alone we actually will develop new technologies that will reduce demand and as a result the price of oil will fall on its own. This would be a win win as the price of oil will fall, and we will reduce our imports of foriegn oil, or our dependency on foriegn oil.

    Also, as a side note I think this name changing should stop. Our canidates are John McCain and Barack Obama. Not John McSame or any other version of their names. This is EXTREMELY disrespectful. I believe CNN should not post a single comment that contains this disrespect. It looks badly on the poster and badly on CNN for allowing it.

    August 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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