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Obama Ridicules McCain's Energy Plans

By Shailagh Murray
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Sen. Barack Obama criticized Sen. John McCain for extolling the "psychological" benefits of offshore drilling and mocked his $300 million prize for a new electric car battery as a "bounty" for "some rocket science."

The Illinois senator dismantled his GOP opponent's energy policies one by one, yet another sign that issues like oil independence, conservation, and alternative power are forming one of the dominant domestic policy battlegrounds of the general election.

Obama described high gas prices as the product of "false promises" and irresponsible policies" that have prevented new technologies and energy sources from replacing dirty fossil fuels. "For decades, John McCain has been part of this failure in Washington," Obama told a town hall meeting at nature preserve located near the Las Vegas strip.

He pointed to McCain's remark yesterday in Fresno that while his proposal to expand offshore drilling would have little short-term impact, "the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial," McCain said.

"Psychological impact," Obama rhetorted. " In case you were wondering, that's Washington-speak for, 'It polls well.'  It's an example of how Washington politicians try to convince you that they did something to make your life better when they really didn't."

Speaking today in Santa Barbara, McCain outlined a series of conservation proposals, telling the audience, "We're in the middle of a great debate in this presidential campaign about the energy security of the United States."

The Arizona senator took his own swipe at Obama. "Practical ideas are worth a lot more than uplifting lectures," McCain said. "It's not always a matter of making due with less energy. It's a matter of using energy in smarter ways."

Obama commended McCain's willingness to address climate change, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, "but time and time again, he has opposed investing in the alternative sources of energy that have helped fuel some of the very same projects and businesses he's highlighting in this campaign. He's voted against biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind power."

He did give McCain credit for proposing a contest to produce a better car battery. "But I don't think a $300 million prize is enough," Obama said. "When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win - he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project."

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds fired back, calling Obama "Dr. No" for rejecting offshore drilling and other energy production-boosting measures.

"John McCain has proposed an energy plan that calls for gas tax relief in the short term, increased exploration and energy development in the near term, and innovation and alternatives for long term energy independence. While John McCain is putting the country first with the best ideas from both parties, Barack Obama has become the 'Dr. No' of energy, refusing to accept any idea that will contribute to solving America's energy crisis."

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 24, 2008; 5:17 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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