COMMENTS: Reduce Greenhouse Gases by Drilling for More Oil

Following Democrat Barack Obama's endorsement Monday by Mr Environment, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell dubbed Al Gore, all three networks' campaign coverage turned to the congeries of issues that includes the cost of gasoline, energy independence, global warming, alternative fuels, oil taxes and drilling policy. NBC's Mitchell called "energy--not national security--the first test for both candidates."

Republican John McCain took the initiative in forcing energy to the top of the agenda as he "formally changed his position," as ABC's Jake Tapper put it, on drilling for oil in coastal waters. McCain had once supported a federal ban; now he proposes that each state make its own rules. NBC's Mitchell pointed out that at the same time as McCain called for increased exploration for undersea oil he "tried to reach out to independents with a new ad on global warming." Mitchell did not explain how McCain squares the circle of limiting fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging oil companies to discover more of them. McCain's plan, noted ABC's Tapper, does call for "new investments in nuclear power, clean coal and alternative energies like wind and solar power" yet he is opposed to an Obama proposal for $150bn in federal tax credits to subsidize renewable energy. "He calls such incentives handouts to special interests," CBS' Dean Reynolds reported. "He prefers to let individual states promote energy alternatives."

ABC News, meanwhile, published its horse race poll that showed Obama ahead of McCain by a 48%-42% margin. George Stephanopoulos (embargoed link) noted bad news for each candidate inside the numbers. McCain suffers from the "formidable obstacle" of a 29% approval rating for his party's incumbent. Stephanopoulos accounted for McCain's advertising on global warming climate change as part of an effort to distance himself from George Bush. As for Obama, Stephanopoulos isolated two voting blocs that "go with the winners" where the Democrat does not enjoy a lead: the candidtaes are tied among independents; and McCain is preferred by "a group that has been right in the last eight elections--white Catholics."


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