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VIDEO: Obama on Offshore Drilling in 2008: “Gimmick…that would only worsen our addiction to oil”

Barack Obama on June 8, 2008 talking about offshore drilling. Where’d this guy go?


Obama 2008: I understand how badly people are struggling to pay gas prices that have reached well over four dollars a gallon in many places. I still remember a man that I met in Pennsylvania who had just lost his job but couldn’t even afford to fill up his gas tank to go look for a new one.

Along with the skyrocketing cost of health care and college and even food, this is a crushing burden on working families all across America and we’ve got to provide relief. That’s why I’ve proposed taxing the record multi-billion dollar profits of oil companies and using some of that to pay for a thousand dollar middle class tax cut that would go to 95% of all families and offset some of these rising costs in fuel. That’s also why I’ve proposed a second stimulus package that would mail another round of rebate checks to the American people.

These steps along with investigations of possible market manipulations in the oil markets would ease some of the short time pain of these gas prices.

But what wouldn’t do a thing to lower gas prices is a new proposal by John McCain — a proposal also adopted by George Bush as well — to open up Florida’s coastline to offshore drilling. In what’s become a bit of a regular occurence in this campaign, Senator McCain once had a different position on offshore drilling. And it’s clear why he did. It would have long term consequences for our coastlines but no short term benefits since it would take at least ten years to get any oil.

Well, the politics may have changed, but the facts haven’t. The accuracy of Senator McCain’s original position has not changed.

Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today. It would not lower gas prices this year. It would not lower gas prices five years from now. In fact, Pres. Bush’s own energy department says that we won’t see a drop of oil from his own proposal until 2017. And in fact you wouldn’t see any full production out of any oil drilling off the coasts until 2030. It will take a generation to reach full production and even then the effect on gas prices will be minimal at best.

So let me just repeat. John McCain’s proposal, George Bush’s proposal, to drill offshore here in Florida and other places around the country would not provide families with any relief this year, next year, five years from now.

Now believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money to fill up their gas tanks by this summer or next year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But it won’t. And John McCain knows that. The fact is that Senator McCain’s decision to team up with George Bush on offshore drilling violates the bipartisan concensus that we’ve had for decades that has protected Florida’s pristine coastline from drilling. And just like Senator McCain’s gas tax holiday gimmick, this is a proposal that would only worsen our addiction to oil and put off needed investments in clean, renewable energy.

It’s not the kind of change that the American people are looking for. They’re looking for leadership that moves this country forward and actually offers real solutions to the serious challenges that we face.

That’s why I’ve unveiled an aggressive and comprehensive policy that raises our fuel standards and invests 150 billion dollars over the next ten years in clean, affordable, renewable sources of energy. A policy that promotes realistic energy conservation.

When I am president, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drillingoff Florida’s coasts. That’s how we can protect the coastlines and still make the investments to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good.

That may not poll well, and I understand that Senator McCain may have looked at the polls and said, ya know, people might buy drilling or they might buy a gas tax holiday. My job is not to go with the polls, my job is to tell the American people the truth about what’s going to work when it comes to our long term energy future and how we can provide some short term relief to families and that’s what I intend to do as president as well.

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.