Clinton Says She's the Only Candidate To Offer Gas Relief

(CBS)

From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

INDIANAPOLIS – Attacking both her Democratic rival and John McCain, Clinton said saying neither of them offer the right amount of assistance to people facing the squeeze at the pump. "Senator Obama won't provide relief, while Senator McCain won't pay for it," she said. "I am the only candidate who will provide immediate relief at the pump with a plan to make it happen, turning talk into action."

The McCain campaign disagreed with that assessment, arguing that their plan would not result in a loss to federal revenue. "Americans should welcome Senator Clinton's support for John McCain's gas tax holiday," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "But she completely misrepresented the specifics in his legislative proposal, which fully compensates the Highway Trust Fund and on-going road projects through general revenues."

Clinton again today called for a gas-tax holiday that would suspend the federal gas tax on all gas, including diesel, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. "We will pay for it by imposing a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, they sure can afford it," she said. "This is a big difference in this race. My opponent opposes giving consumers a break from the gas tax. But I believe American people are being squeezed pretty hard by everything happening."

The issue over fuel prices promises to be a key issue in the upcoming primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, so it's no wonder that Clinton is taking the opportunity to hammer her Democratic opponent for not supporting the gas-tax holiday.

"There are a lot of people in Indiana who would really benefit from a gas tax holiday," said Clinton. "You know, that may not mean much to my opponent, but I think it means a lot to people who are struggling here, people who commute long distances to work, farmers and truckers who are in the business of driving a lot of vehicles over a lot of miles."

Obama called Clinton's plan a "gimmick." "Senator Clinton wants to spend the money on this Washington gimmick that will save you $28 all summer," Obama said. "I want to invest that money in clean, affordable, renewable sources of energy like wind power, and solar power, and biofuels, so that we're not here talking about high gas prices next summer, and the summer after that, and five summers after that. That's the change we need."

Clinton says her plan will be revenue neutral since she will pay for it by imposing a windfall profit's tax on oil companies. The federal gas tax goes to the into a transportation trust fund that helps maintain roads, highways and infrastructure.