Sen. Barack Obama used his press conference this morning to go after Clinton on her recent gas tax holiday proposal. Obama claimed Clinton is borrowing phrases from President Bush, he then suggested that the only support Clinton can find for the idea is from John McCain.
Obama has also released an ad in Indiana hitting Clinton over this issue.
Sam Stein notes that the support for the gas tax among economist and energy analysts is non-existent, but the Clinton camp has argued that Hillary doesn't need to listen to experts on this issue.
Full press conference remarks below:
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
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
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
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
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