From CBS News' John Bentley:
HOUSTON -- Making the argument that diversification and conservation are critical national goals, John McCain said high oil prices are not only an economic problem, but a matter of national security as well. "The jobs, family budgets, and futures of the American people should not depend on the whims of foreign powers," McCain said. "Their opinion of America runs the full spectrum from indifference to hatred. And yet these regimes are today the masters of the oil market."
McCain repeated his call for lifting the ban on offshore oil exploration, an idea which went over well with the crowd in this Gulf coast state. "I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use," McCain said to a standing ovation from the crowd. "We must deal with the here and now, and assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production."
Barack Obama compared McCain's call to lift the moratorium to McCain's gas tax holiday, which would suspend the federal gas tax for summer. Obama referred to them both as a "gimmick." "John McCain's support of the moratorium on offshore drilling during his first presidential campaign was certainly laudable, but his decision to completely change his position and tell a group of Houston oil executives exactly what they wanted to hear today was the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades," Obama said. "I believe we should put in place a windfall profits tax that will help to ease the burden of higher energy costs on working families, and we should invest in the affordable, renewable sources of energy that Sen. McCain has opposed in the past."
McCain reminded the crowd of Obama's support for taxes on oil company profits, which resulted in a chorus of boos from the audience. "He wants a windfall profits tax on oil, to go along with the new taxes he also plans for coal and natural gas," McCain said about Obama's energy policy. "If the plan sounds familiar, it's because that was President Jimmy Carter's big idea too – and a lot of good it did us. Now as then, all a windfall profits tax will accomplish is to increase our dependence on foreign oil, and hinder exactly the kind of domestic exploration and production we need. I'm all for recycling -- but it's better applied to paper and plastic than to the failed policies of the 1970's."