Democrat Barack Obama kicked off a week focused on his energy plan with a speech in Lansing, Mich. where he pushed for tax credits to help with the manufacture and purchase of hybrid vehicles, a $1,000 per family "energy rebate" paid for in part by taxing oil companies' record profits and $150 billion over 10 years to develop clean energy technologies.
He also took aim at Republican John McCain in his speech and in a new energy-focused TV ad that pushes Obama's energy rebate idea and ties McCain to President George W. Bush and "big oil." Here's a speech excerpt:
You won't hear me say this too often, but I couldn't agree more with the explanation that Senator McCain offered a few weeks ago. He said, "Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country."But Obama did say he would be open to offshore drilling "if it's necessary to actually pass a comprehensive plan."
What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them. And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. ...
Now, after years of inaction, and in the face of public frustration over rising gas prices, the only energy proposal he's really promoting is more offshore drilling - a position he recently adopted that has become the centerpiece of his plan, and one that will not make a real dent in current gas prices or meet the long-term challenge of energy independence.
Read the complete text of Obama's prepared remarks
Obama has two "New Energy for America" townhalls set for Tuesday in Ohio -- early tomorrow morning in Youngstown and after noon in Berea.
While Obama is pushing his plan, McCain's campaign is making a concerted effort to deride Obama's energy ideas, saying in a fundraising e-mail that Obama's "solution to high gas prices is telling Americans to make sure their tires are inflated" and offering contributors an "Obama Energy Plan" tire pressure gauge if they donate $25 or more to the campaign. Michigan GOP operatives also planned to hand out the gauges at Obama's Lansing speech today.
During a weekend appearance in Iowa to open a McCain campaign office, Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty used a tire gauge as a prop, saying "We want you to have good pressure in your tires. It will, you know, very mildly add to your fuel efficiency, but checking the air pressure in your tires is not an energy policy for the United States of America."