From CBS News' John Bentley:
SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Accusing Barack Obama of wanting to raise taxes instead of giving consumers short term relief from gas prices, John McCain continued to press his argument for lifting the ban on offshore oil exploration today. "When the speechmaking is over and you stop to figure out what all the rhetoric really amounts to, the answer is usually some new tax," McCain said about Obama. "He is convinced that a 1970's-style windfall profits tax is just what America needs in the 21st Century."
McCain spoke at an energy roundtable forum on the campus Missouri State University today, advocating offshore oil exploration as a short-term solution for rising fuel costs. "In the short term, this requires more domestic production, especially in the Outer Continental Shelf," he said. "We must assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production. When I announced this policy the other day, Sen. Obama wasted no time in mischaracterizing it. He described my position as – you guessed it – another example of Bush's third term."
But McCain and Bush are now on the same page about possible offshore drilling. Although the president supported the ban on oil exploration off the coasts in the past – his father was president at the time the legislation passed – the current President Bush held a press conference this morning calling on Congress to lift the 27-year-old ban.
Obama argues, though, that even if you started drilling now, there would be no immediate effect on gas prices. "There is no way that allowing offshore drilling would lower gas prices right now – at best you're looking at five years or more down the road," Obama said. "Even the most optimistic assumptions indicate that offshore drilling might reduce the overall world price of oil by a few cents, so this is not something that's going to give consumers short term relief, and it is not a long term solution to our problems with fossil fuels generally and oil in particular."