Washington, DC - After years of saying he opposed drilling in our coastal waters, Senator McCain changed his position and has embraced President Bush's vision for offshore drilling. On CBS's Face the Nation, McCain advisor Carly Fiorina tried to defend John McCain's decision to cave in to Big Oil. First, she said Senator McCain changed his mind because he wants to confront rising gas prices. Even the Bush Administration and a former McCain advisor admit that drilling in coastal waters will do nothing to reduce the price for decades. But industry experts, the Bush Administration and even former McCain advisors admit that drilling in coastal waters will do nothing to reduce the price of gas for decades. Fiorina claimed Senator McCain is "approaching the subject of off-shore drilling in a sensible way." But just yesterday one McCain surrogate cited Fidel Castro's beachfront oil rigs to defend McCain's reversal.
Finally, Fiorina claimed Senator McCain would also expand renewable energy technologies, saying "we must very much motivate investment in those new technologies." Fiorina failed to explain why Senator McCain has repeatedly voted against incentives aimed at promoting renewable energy during his 25 years in Washington.
"Carly Fiorina's misleading rhetoric can't hide the truth that John McCain's idea of a 'new' energy plan is recycling the failed and flawed Bush policies that cost American jobs, drive up energy prices, and do nothing to make America less dependent on foreign oil," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "Once again, on a critical issue facing America, Senator McCain has changed his position to advance his political agenda rather than offer the new ideas America needs."
FIORINA VS. THE FACTS
FIORINA TODAY: Senator McCain is "approaching the subject of off-shore drilling in a sensible way." [CBS Face the Nation, 6/22/08]
MCCAIN SURROGATE YESTERDAY: Cites Cuba's Beachfront Oil Rigs As Example of How Other Countries Do To Meet their Energy Needs. "MAYOR GRECO: I want to tell you all something. Five years ago I went to Cuba and visited Fidel Castro, something I always wanted to do, some people thought it was the wrong thing to do. Guess what I saw when I was there? We drove from Havana to Varadero Beach and not out in the water not fifty, sixty, seventy or eighty miles like we're talking about here, but on the beach itself oil wells along the beachfront. And guess what he said, Castro, before we mentioned it? He said, I know you saw those oil wells which looks pretty damn bad on a beachfront piece of property. He said I had to do that because we need the fuel. Now, that's not what we're talking about doing, and that's a pity, but other countries do whatever they want. We must think about all kinds of alternatives to solve our problems. This is not a done deal, its just one of the things that they're exploring." [McCain Campain Conference call, 6/21/08: http://blip.tv/file/1011633 or http://youtube.com/watch?v=SR7BjXunjZE]
FLASHBACK: MARCH 1998 ---- OIL SPILL ON CUBA'S NORTHERN COAST. "The Cuban government says two foreign-registered oil tankers have collided, causing an oil spill which has polluted parts of the island's northern coastline. The accident happened at Matanzas Bay, where thick black slurry has washed up on the shore. Workers have been using bulldozers to clear the spillage away. The area is only about thirty kilometres from the beach resort of Varadero, which is visited by thousands of foreign tourists every year." [BBC, 3/28/98: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/70779.stm]
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ADMITS THE IMPACT OF MCCAIN'S PLAN ON OIL PRICES WOULD BE INSIGNIFICANT. "As many reports have noted, the McCain/Bush policy on offshore drilling doesn't make sense as a response to $4-a-gallon gas: the White House's own Energy Information Administration says that exploiting the outer shelf wouldn't yield noticeable amounts of oil until the 2020s, and even at peak production its impact on oil prices would be 'insignificant.'" [Paul Krugman column, New York Times, 6/20/08]
BUSH AND MCCAIN IN LOCKSTEP. "Republican John McCain is trying to appeal to independent voters by saying he's no President Bush…And yet, the president and McCain are marching in lockstep on how to deal with $4 a gallon gas. They're demanding Democrats end the federal ban on off-shore drilling, claiming it could lead to a drop in oil prices, given the expectation of increased supply." [CNN, 6/19/08]
FORMER MCCAIN ADVISOR SAYS PLAN WON'T MAKE OIL CHEAP. "Bush says he'll drop the executive order if Congress first lifts its 26-year-old ban. But even if lawmakers acted tomorrow, it would be years before the infrastructure could be put in place to support additional drilling…What sounds so simple in theory--opening offshore areas to increase oil production for the energy-price-shocked U.S. populace--turns out to be incredibly complex. And to top it all off, the plan can't resolve the supply and demand problem that is at the core of the run-up in fuel prices. Anthony Cordesman, an energy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former national security assistant to McCain, says trying to solve the problem by focusing on supply or demand won't help the U.S. achieve energy independence. And it won't make oil cheap. 'It may just make it less expensive,' he says." [Forbes, 6/18/08]
FactCheck.org: McCain Gas Tax Holiday Will Not Drive Prices Down; Would "Give Federal Funds To Oil Refineries." "But economists say that the proposal is unlikely to actually lower the price of gasoline. McCain's plan would essentially give federal funds to oil refineries… But the nonpartisan American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimates that the total savings for the average American motorist works out to about $28; for a two-car household, that would be $54. That's IF prices actually dropped 18.4 cents per gallon. However, there's every indication that they wouldn't. Here's why: According to the basic principles of supply and demand, cutting the price of an item causes people to buy more of it. That's why stores put items on sale. But when something is priced too low, consumers will buy it faster than it can be manufactured, which leads to shortages. [Factcheck.org, 5/2/08: http://www.factcheck.org/gas_price_fixes_that_wont.html]
FIORINA TODAY: "We cannot take control of our own energy future by only relying on these new technologies, although we must very much motivate investment in those new technologies."
McCain Repeatedly Voted Against Tax Credits For Renewable Energy Production. McCain voted against several amendments aimed at encouraging renewable energy production. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006; 2005 Senate Vote #158, 6/28/2005; 2001 Senate Vote #125, 5/21/2001]
McCain Says He Would Veto The Farm Bill -- $300 Million in Renewable Biofuels Funding. The farm bill "provides $300 million in mandatory funding for payments to support production of advanced biofuels including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel." There is also "$250 million in grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency systems for agriculture and rural small businesses." [McCain Prepared Remarks, 5/19/08; Reuters, 5/15/2008]
McCain Opposed $290 Million For R&D On Renewable Energy, Including Wind Power. McCain voted against an amendment to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and clean renewable energy bonds programs for four years including $290 Million for renewable energy R&D on Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006]
McCain Cast Deciding Vote to Cut Funding For the Rural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program From $23 Million To $3 Million. McCain voted for a motion to concur in the House amendment with the Senate amendment on the bill that made changes to programs for a net savings of $39.7 billion over five years. [2005 Senate Vote #363, 12/21/2005]
McCain Missed Vote To Require Utilities To Produce 20 Percent Of Energy From Renewable Sources. McCain missed a vote on an amendment that would require utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from clean or renewable energy sources by 2020 in favor of an alternative amendment would require utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. [2007 Senate Vote #211, 6/14/2007]
McCain Voted Repeatedly Against Establishing National Renewable Energy Standards. McCain voted against an amendment that would mandate that renewable energy sources must produce at least 10 percent of the electricity sold by electric utilities by 2020, a minimum of 2.5 percent must be produced beginning 2008 through 2011. [2005 Senate Vote #141, 6/16/2005; 2002 Senate Vote #50, 3/14/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #55, 3/21/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #59, 3/21/2002]