The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Ad Watch

Enviros Tag-Team with MoveOn to Attack McCain over Big Oil

Updated 3:22 p.m.
By Juliet Eilperin
Environmental and liberal groups are teaming up to attack Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on oil drilling today, with the Sierra Club and both airing television ads linking the presumptive GOP nominee to major oil companies.

While several Democratic-aligned groups have yet to launch independent expenditures this year, environmental groups are planning to run a costly effort to elect Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) despite McCain's historic support for a federal cap on carbon emissions linked to global warming. McCain has cast erratic votes over the years on several environmental issues, and has infuriated green groups with his support for offshore oil drilling and a federal gas tax holiday.

Each separate ad buy will cost six-figures, according to the groups, with the Sierra Club airing its ad statewide in New Hampshire; as well as in Denver, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and (that famous battleground state) DC. That ad suggests "Big Oil companies have our economy and politics in a choke hold" and McCain's answer to rising gas prices is "another $4 billion giveaway to Big Oil." Obama, the group argues, "has a plan the breaks the grip of Big Oil." Earlier this week, the group launched a six-figure radio buy in swing states.

Meanwhile, PAC unveiled a television commercial this morning featuring a man who looks directly into the camera and speaks to McCain, the way a young mother did in the group's earlier anti-war ad titled "Not Alex." The man tells the Arizona senator he used to think he was "a principled guy," but now considers his offshore drilling plan a gimmick. (See here for more on the MoveOn spot.)

Cathy Duvall, the Sierra Club's political director, said her organization will couple its on-air assault against McCain with get-out-the-vote efforts in the remaining months before the election.

"This TV ad is part of a multi-state independent organizing campaign to educate voters about McCain and Obama's positions on energy and environmental issues," she wrote in an e-mail. "These issues are front and center in this election, and the Sierra Club's brand name and legitimacy on the issues will help swing voters in key battleground states sort through the information to make an informed choice in this election. We are utilizing our broad grassroots reach, and will communicate through paid and earned media efforts and direct one-on-one conversations with voters this summer and fall."

The two progressive groups only disagree on one issue when it to McCain and the fossil fuel industry, according to their press releases: how to frame the amount of money he's received from oil barons. Duvall says in the Sierra Club's press release that "John McCain's taken over $2,000,000 in campaign cash from Big Oil" -- calculated as his total haul for the campaign -- while Eli Pariser, MoveOn's executive director, says McCain "has taken over a million dollars from oil companies" over the past month.

Posted at 12:01 PM ET on Jul 31, 2008  | Category:  Ad Watch
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Did you hear that Obama is now open to off-shore drilling?

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2008 12:38 PM

There's a reason why the oil companies are only spending a tiny bit of their profits on exploration: simply because the discovery of more oil will decrease the price of oil which will lower profits. So even if they discover more oil, they're not going to let us know how much is out there.

The solution to the energy crisis is not to award the big oil companies AGAIN (like everything Bush has done), but instead open up new markets that can provide alternatives to oil. That means investing in research in alternative energy. All of the Republicans have tried to kill such investments (most noteably, Reagan did kill solar energy research) because the big oil companies are behind the Republican party. The only real solution is to get the Republicans out of the white house. Then only will our gas prices begin to lower.

Posted by: Mike | August 1, 2008 12:49 AM

Morgan Walker:

That link doesn't work for me. Regardless what other Republicans are saying about off-shore drilling, this thread is about John McCain (you know, the presumptive GOP nominee). What do you think about his stand on off-shore drilling?

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 5:04 PM

Offshore drilling can be seen, (not) really, to solve all the problems facing America today. What is more interesting, however, is the use of typical quotes and soundbites used by Both parties to push their agenda. Compiled here is a list of what the Republicans think can be solved by offshore (US) drilling, and why it must be done immediately. It's pretty funny.

Posted by: Morgan Walker | July 31, 2008 4:09 PM

Looking for a real solution:

It's not just the actual oil down the road, but also the runaway speculation driven by the fact that the U.S. hasn't drilled / built refineries, etc.

John McCain Believes We Must Understand The Role Speculation Is Playing In Our Soaring Energy Prices. Congress already has investigations underway to examine this kind of wagering in our energy markets, unrelated to any kind of productive commerce, because it can distort the market, drive prices beyond rational limits, and put the investments and pensions of millions of Americans at risk. John McCain believes that where we find abuses, they need to be swiftly punished. To make sure it never happens again, we must reform the laws and regulations governing the oil futures market, so that they are just as clear and effective as the rules applied to stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments.

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 4:00 PM

Just to add to the oil tangent -

10.4 billion barrels in ANWR
-divided by-
20 million barrels consumed daily by the US
520 days worth of oil.

Woo Hoo. That'll save us.

In the Pacific they estimate a similar number when guessing at the untapped oil there - ~10 Billion barrels.

1000 days of oil. 3 years worth. This is not a long term solution to our problem as it does not provide the US with a sustainable source of oil, nor does it remove our dependence from foreign oil as production requires time to extract. Liberal estimates put it at supplying 12% of our current needs. This is also not a short term solution since we wouldn't see any real production (approx 5% of our current need) for at least 5 years, with peak production occurring somewhere in the 15-20 year range.

This is not a winning idea - and it seems to by the economic crux of McCain's bid for the presidency. Even Fox News has started to question McCain and his camp.

Posted by: Looking for a real solution | July 31, 2008 3:18 PM

I bet if people read an economics book they would think Mccain is full of dung.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 3:00 PM

Yes, I want to vote for a candidate who likes to put band-aides on gushing wounds.

Mccain is a boob and doesn't even know what he stands for.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 2:58 PM

Redneck Rebel Republican:


Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 2:49 PM

$4 billion tax incentives comparing to what?

Comparing to 10 and 10 and far more then 10 of billions of tax incentives that each government in the world has given out to the oil companies to develop their domestic oil fields?

There is better solution than the environmentalists offered and that is to stop driving. Any taker?

Posted by: pete | July 31, 2008 2:31 PM


"Hide the white women...hide the white women! The President is on the loose NOT OBAMA....Bill Clinton is visiting!"

- Karl Rove 28JUL08

Posted by: RRR | July 31, 2008 2:24 PM

I hope everyone in here is going to vote for the person they think best protects the American Dream - Barack Obama.

Thank you.

Paid for by "Citizens Tired of McSleezy's Scumbag Commercials."

Posted by: CTOMSC | July 31, 2008 2:21 PM

Hey Jake - is you a dummy or is you a fool? McLame is gonna hert the USofA wif his stoopid oil drilling plan. I is a proud member of the Republican Party that's gonna vote for the Negro and not for the Numskull.

Posted by: Redneck Rebel Republican | July 31, 2008 2:18 PM

Didn't McCain say that off shore drilling would have only a "psychological effect"?

No thanks, I would rather have real solutions.

Posted by: Chad | July 31, 2008 2:15 PM

After the gas tax holiday idea was proven to be a gimmick, how can anyone trust McCain's "solutions"? He just wants to help out big oil companies.

Posted by: Bob | July 31, 2008 2:14 PM

With McCain's financial plan, he will be giving Exxon alone BILLIONS of dollars in tax breaks.

McCain and his economic strategist Phil Gramm fight for corporate welfare, not for 99% of the American people. (Seriously, look up Gramm's involvement with banking deregulation, the mortgage crisis, and the Enron loophole).

Posted by: Krissy | July 31, 2008 2:11 PM

No thanks, Be Smart. I am voting for McCain.

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 1:58 PM

Real Republicans don't support what Bush has done, and McCain plans to do to America.

Put our Country before your party and think about our future!

McCain will destroy the US economy, and continue to build up ill will with the international community that we are now dependant on, thanks to Bush's out of control spending, and McCain's plan to continue to bankrupt America.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 1:50 PM

Jake D,

Go take a bath with a toaster...If anybody elects John McCain then there is something seriously wrong with them. He symbolizes the Bush disaster all over again...and before you paint me as some type of angry black terrorist im NOT. I would have voted for the 2000 John McCain, the one who actually knew what the hell he was talking about...BUT this 2008 McCain and if he's elected god help us all...well god help you all, im rich enough to move out of the country. ttyl

Posted by: BeSmart | July 31, 2008 1:36 PM

McCain = Drill more oil for my wallet, my friends!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 12:46 PM


I am plenty old and not the one lying either -- from McCain's own energy platform: "nuclear", "natural gas", "Clean Car Challenge", "Improving Battery Technology", "Wind, Hydro And Solar Power"

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 12:41 PM

jakeD, Grow up and stop lying. McCloneBush is in the pocket of big oil. They don't want alternative fuels, and they are paying McCloneBush to toe their line.

Meanwhile the world grows hotter, and the heat obviously affects your thinking.

Posted by: jeffp | July 31, 2008 12:34 PM

McCain is just a typical Republican oil wh0re, and the fact they have pumped million into his campign since he flip-flopped on the oil drilling scam (gas might drop 3-5 cents by 2016!) proved it for the whole country to see.

The oil industry can drill on the 68 MILLION ACRES they are already sitting on, or export less.

Posted by: sequoia | July 31, 2008 12:33 PM

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 12:31 PM

McCain's oil drilling plank is just one of many (including nuclear and renewable energy sources) on his platform. At least he's willing to try everything possible to bring gas prices down. Obama is Dr. No in that regard.

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2008 12:05 PM

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