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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Obama hits Clinton on Gas Tax Gimickry

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Indianapolis, Indiana
Friday, May 2, 2008

This morning, we learned that while the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged last month, wages have gone down, and the economy lost 20,000 more jobs. That's 260,000 jobs lost since the beginning of the year. That's 260,000 more Americans who won't have a paycheck to help them cover the rising cost of health care and child care; gas and groceries. This news is troubling, but it's not surprising - because in recent months, we've seen the problems in our economy grow worse and worse.

Now, a big part of why so many folks are struggling is that Washington hasn't been looking out for them. For too long, we've had a politics that's been more about scoring points than solving problems.

We've had a good example of this lately, with the so-called gas tax holiday that Senator Clinton is proposing. At best, this is a plan that would save you pennies a day for the summer months; that is, unless gas prices are raised to fill in the gap, which is just what happened in Illinois, when we tried this a few years ago. Just this morning, there was an article in the paper about how the real beneficiaries of this tax holiday would be the oil companies, who'd walk away with billions more in profits.

Meanwhile, unless you can magically impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies overnight to pay for the holiday, it could imperil federal highway funding, and cost Indiana more than 6,000 jobs.

Now, the two Washington candidates in the race have been attacking me because I don't support their idea. In fact, yesterday Senator Clinton demanded that everyone go on the record on this issue. She even borrowed one of President Bush's favorite phrases, and said that every member of Congress had to tell her - "are they with us or against us?"

Well, folks have been weighing in. And you know what? It turns out that people want to be on the side of the American people - they don't want to be for something that is such an obvious election year gimmick; they don't want to line up behind an idea that's more about trying to get a few votes than getting you meaningful relief.

Speaker Pelosi said that she's against the McCain-Clinton gas tax gimmick because it won't pass savings on to consumers, and "it will defeat everything we've tried to do to lower the cost of oil." Steny Hoyer rejected the idea, saying it "would not be positive." Tom Harkin, a Senator who knows a thing or two about what working people are facing here in the Midwest, said that he can't be for it because there's no guarantee that it will "put money in the pockets of our consumers." You might think that there's more support for it in Senator Clinton's home state. But her own supporter, Governor Patterson, said he's against it because the benefit of the tax cut "doesn't go directly to the consumer" - instead, it goes to the oil companies.

But Senator Clinton does have some support for her plan in Congress. After all, the person who first proposed it was John McCain. So I guess when she says "are you with us or against us" - Senator Clinton is referring to her and John McCain. That's one vote she's got, because on this issue, Hillary Clinton and John McCain are reading from the same political playbook.

This isn't a real solution. It's a political stunt. This is what Washington does whenever there's a big problem. Politicians pretend that they're looking out for you, but they're just looking out for their poll numbers. Senator Clinton's own staff even told the Washington Post that they knew the idea might not make much of a difference for you, but it could make a big difference for her campaign. And when the Clinton campaign was pressed to find a single expert who supported her plan - I'm not making this up - they put her campaign pollster on the phone to talk about how the idea polls well.

But what Americans need isn't an idea that polls well; what you need is real change. What you need is leadership you can trust. That's what I'm offering. I'm tired of seeing us lose so many jobs month after month, year after year. When I'm President, we'll stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and start giving them to companies that create good-paying jobs here at home. And we'll focus on long-term job growth. Rather than put highway funding at risk like my opponents are proposing, I have a plan to invest in our infrastructure and create millions of new jobs in the process. And I have a plan to invest in our green energy sector that will create up to five million new green jobs - and those are jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

To help Americans meet rising costs, I've proposed the biggest middle class tax cut of any candidate. It would mean real savings for working families, struggling homeowners, and seniors. We also need to address our economic woes at their source - the housing crisis. Nearly two years ago, I introduced legislation to crack down on predatory lenders and mortgage fraud - legislation that could have prevented this crisis from escalating. And I've called on Washington to help homeowners re-finance their mortgages so they can stay in their homes.

It's time to quit the political stunts, and start offering real solutions. That's what I've been doing throughout this campaign, and that's the kind of leadership I intend to offer as President of the United States.

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Blogger Dusty said...

Even the Indy Star called her a pandering bag of batshit.

She is so desperate right now..Team Hillary is pulling out all the stops..ala the Rethugs.

sad no?

title="comment permalink">May 03, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger Independent said...

Obama talking about gimmicks to win an election, well, Obama asked to put signs up at the fuel pumps in his Illinois home senate district stating, "Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices" after voting for a gas tax suspension in his home state of Illinois. (source: Illinois senate transcript 4/15/2000)

title="comment permalink">May 03, 2008 7:18 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Independent - That's how he knows it doesn't work. You know. . .that "experience" thing. . .

title="comment permalink">May 05, 2008 7:45 PM  

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