August 20th, 2008
06:10 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain visits oil rig, presses Obama on offshore drilling

(CNN) - As a dip in gas prices barely registers at the pump, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain continued his pressure on opponent Barack Obama over the politically popular policy of offshore drilling with a visit to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We need to start drilling offshore,” McCain said Tuesday, standing on a Chevron oil platform that pumps out 10,000 gallons of oil and 15 million cubic feet of natural gas each day. “Sen. Obama opposes new drilling. He has said it will not ‘solve our problem’ and that ‘it’s not real.’ He’s wrong, and the American people know it. I hope he’ll seize the opportunity to come out and pay a visit like this one and I think it would probably change his mind.”

Both McCain and Obama opposed offshore drilling when the campaign began. But as prices at the pump reached $4 a gallon – and polls showed a significant majority of Americans favor the idea - both men shifted their positions.

The Arizona senator has embraced the policy. His fall rival says he remains personally opposed, but would consider legislation that includes a provision expanding the practice if the compromise was required to pass comprehensive energy legislation.

"Americans across our country are hurting, as we all know, because of the cost of energy," McCain said aboard the rig. "Gas prices are through the roof. Energy costs have seeped into our grocery bills, making it more expensive to feed our families. Now as we prepare for the winter, it's time for us to be more serious about our home heating oil needs…"

“New drilling has to be part of our energy solution,” McCain said. “When I’m president there will be a whole more like this, not only here in the Gulf, but also off of our East and West Coasts.”

McCain’s original plans to visit an oil rig in the Gulf several weeks ago had to be scrapped because of Hurricane Dolly. During a Wednesday safety briefing on the rigm McCain asked if anyone had ever fallen in the water. “Never,” replied offshore installation manager Joe St. Ann. “Knock on wood.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Steve

    What Obama is saying is "oil is not the answer not the future" and he is correct. If you look at other countries that are independent of oil they started their independence 30 years ago. The US is behind the times when it comes to oil. It is time we seriously look at alternatives and not scramble to do something that will just keep us in the same situation. Obama is taking a realistic but maybe more painful approach, rather than go for the easy pickings. Going fo the easy pickings has gotten us in this situation.

    Don't let the politics confuse you! The republicans are just after the easy pickings to get ratings. They are even willing to start wars and put our youth into harms way because it is easier than saying "NO" to big oil. Saying "NO" to big oil doesn't line the republican coffers. It always comes back to money doesn’t it!

    Obama 08 and 12. It's going to take some time to turn this sinking ship around.

    August 20, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. ToneLoc

    For all you anti-drilling fanatics: Read the September issue of Popular Mechanics. There are several impartial articles on biofuels, hybrids, hydrogen, and making your own fuel. The reality is that while these options sound promising, they are just not anywhere near commercial availability for many years. So my question is: what are your suggested real solutions that we can use for the next 10-15 years to include transportation, home heating, etc. which will bridge the gap? I hear crickets chirping?

    August 20, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. KC

    I have to agree that sooner or later we will have to drill more, but if McCain gets into office he WILL drill everywhere. Anyone that does not live where they are drilling now needs to make a trip and ask yourself if you would want to live there (this includes on or off shore)

    August 20, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Hannah Stevens

    I find it incredible how the public can be sold to. But I guess we have been conditioned for years with Madison Ave advertising and this administration has used this to their advantage to sell what we know in our core not to be right, but if they say so.... we acquiesce. The Iraq war... sold day after day. Many knew it was a bad idea, but in the end the majority and congress bought it lock stock and barrel to use a cliche. The war was good for the oil companies and bad for the people of America and that has been born out in the state of our economy.

    And now the drilling. As people have noted, to drill won't help the price for years and by then the market will have changed. Drilling would be a huge boon for drilling companies and oil companies but we would lose in the long term. I guess as long as we have the corporations running the country, this is what we get. Let's try something different this time around. Don't vote republican and don't buy into the drilling.

    August 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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