New McCain ad misleads on drilling

In its latest spot, John McCain's campaign blames Barack Obama for high gas prices, but the ad is less than honest.

Published July 21, 2008 3:29PM (EDT)

John McCain's campaign has just released its latest TV ad; titled "Pump," it goes after Barack Obama on oil drilling and gas prices.

Technically, the spot -- which can be seen below -- is well made, and it certainly seems convincing. But it's misleading, at best.

"Gas prices $4, $5, no end in sight," the ad's narrator says, "because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America, no to independence from foreign oil." The narrator then asks, "Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?" The question is answered with a picture of Obama and audio of his name being chanted.

As I've discussed in this space many times now, though, the expert opinion on McCain's proposals for drilling at home is that such drilling would not have a significant effect on price, and that oil from those projects would not hit the market for some years. Nor is there any reason to believe that more drilling here would actually lead to independence from foreign oil, or that Obama's opposition to additional drilling at home is having any effect on prices now.

Politico's Ben Smith had this to add: "In response, an Obama aide sends over this link to a recent McCain speech: 'Let me give you a little bit of straight talk on energy. 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.'"

Update: The Obama camp has just released a statement, from spokesman Tommy Vietor, about the ad:

John McCain said recently that "our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington." As someone who's been in Washington for 26 years, Senator McCain is one of those politicians, and he's consistently opposed investments in renewable energy that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Now he's proposing nearly $4 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies and Washington gimmicks that he admits will only provide "psychological relief" to consumers. Barack Obama has fought for energy independence in the Senate and has a plan to invest $150 billion in renewable sources of energy that will create five million new jobs and provide struggling families with an immediate energy rebate and a $1,000 middle-class tax cut.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.