FORT MYERS, FLA. -- These are two statements he has made this week.
"I'm not opposed to drillin'. But I want to say to my friends on the other side, I'll prepare to support drillin' off shore and even take some risks with our environment if you guarantee me that that oil -- which by the way, is our oil. You own that oil. The American people own the Continental Shelf. The oil companies don't own it. We own that oil. We own that oil in Alaska. We own that oil in the gulf."
"So I have no problem -- go ahead and drill. Just guarantee me two things. One – all that oil is going to come to America. Virtually none of the oil from Alaska comes to America, it all goes to Japan. So guarantee me it all comes to America and guarantee me you're not going to charge me Saudi Arabian prices…you're going to guarantee me you won't charge me OPEC prices."
-- Sen. Joe Biden, Scranton, PA 9/1/2008
"They want to drill off our shores. Okay, I got that. Let's say, okay, let's say it makes sense to drill -- it doesn't, I'm against it. But let's say it made sense."
-- Sen. Joe Biden, Fort Myers, FL 9/3/2008
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt responded, "Biden is being inconsistent on his position, but the cause for concern revolves around Barack Obama alarming refusal to support sensible energy policies when Americans are paying record prices at the pump. The combination of Barack Obama's refusal to support off shore drilling and desire to raise taxes on American families will kill jobs and leave America dependent on foreign sources of oil. This is another example of Barack Obama's lack of judgment and readiness to take on critical issues."
When asked to clarify the campaign's position, Obama spokesperson David Wade released the following statement, "I want to make this very clear because what Joe Biden's saying is real simple, folks. Neither Biden nor Obama think drilling is a long term answer, but unlike John McCain who rejected a bipartisan compromise because it asked too much of Exxon Mobil, they are open to a consensus position that actually achieves the gains we need in renewable energy, immediate help for consumers, and increased exploration. They have a completely different approach to bi-partisan governing than John McCain who has made clear he'll take the Bush road of doing exactly what the oil companies want. Sen., Biden also cuts through the oil company malarkey and gets to the truth: right now, the richest companies in America which already get public land dirt cheap and which are just plain sitting on 68 million acres of leases, are telling tall tales to American consumers pretending that another land grab would bring down gas prices. They don't even acknowledge that there's a global market for oil and that all this drilling would be spread out across that market, not filling American gas tanks alone. "