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On the Campaign Trail, Candidates Talk Energy Prices

July 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM EST
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Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain each outlined their positions on the debate over allowing more off-shore drilling to ease energy prices and overall voter concerns on energy costs.
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KWAME HOLMAN: The presidential candidates again stumped in swing states today, talking up their plans for easing the country’s economic troubles. Barack Obama campaigned this morning in Springfield, Missouri.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: And part of what we’ve learned is that you can’t separate what’s good for ordinary American families and what’s good for the economy as a whole. You can’t have Wall Street doing well and Main Street doing poorly and think that the economy is going to move forward. That’s not how it works.

KWAME HOLMAN: Obama also responded to John McCain’s recent criticism of his opposition to off-shore oil drilling.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: The soonest you would see a single drop of oil from any drilling off our shores would be 10 years from now. Full production wouldn’t start until 20 years from now. And the most you would end up saving 10 years or 20 years from now would be a few cents a gallon, although at that point I figure oil — gasoline might be $12 a gallon. Who knows what it might be?

The point is: This is not real. I know it’s tempting. The polls say a majority of Americans think that that’s one of the ways we’re going to solve this problem, but it’s not real.

And this is what Washington does. It pats you on the back and says, “We’re going to do something.” And in the meantime, the oil companies are shoving this thing down the throats of Congress because they know everybody wants to try to pretend like they’re doing something about the energy crisis, and they end up making out like bandits again.

So we don’t need the same, old, tired answers. What we need is something new.

KWAME HOLMAN: John McCain meanwhile held a town hall this afternoon with employees of a construction equipment company in Aurora, Colorado, outside Denver.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing you could do because that could kill more jobs and we’re already losing too many.

I have a plan that gets our economy moving again. And I’m going to keep current tax rates low and cut others, not because I want to make the rich richer, but because it keeps jobs in America and creates new ones.

KWAME HOLMAN: McCain also stepped up his attacks on Obama’s energy policy.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Senator Obama says he wants energy independence, but he’s opposed to new drilling at home, he’s opposed to nuclear power, he opposed an innovation prize for electric cars, he said the high cost of gasoline doesn’t bother him, only that it rose too quickly.

Senator Obama has said every domestic energy source has a problem. I believe every energy source needs to be part of the solution.

We need to develop new alternative energies like wind, solar, tide, and biofuels, but we also have to develop more existing energies like nuclear power and clean coal. And we need to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

And we ought to start drilling for more oil at home, including off-shore. We ought to start drilling.

Senator Obama opposes that. Meanwhile, the Congress of the United States is gridlocked. They’re gridlocked.

The speaker of the House has said that they won’t have a vote on off-shore drilling. The Democrat majority in the Senate will not allow an up-or-down vote on off-shore drilling. My friends, that’s what’s wrong with Washington, D.C., today and that’s what we’ve got to change.

KWAME HOLMAN: McCain will campaign tomorrow in Wisconsin, while Obama meets with voters in Iowa.