From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:
(LAS VEGAS) Offshore drilling continues to be a major sticking point between Barack Obama and John McCain, and the two candidates are still jabbing at each other's position for the second week. Obama, who has argued that drilling will not immediately lower gas prices, is expected today to condemn McCain's recent comments about the "psychological" benefits of offshore drilling.
At a campaign stop in Fresno yesterday, McCain said, "I don't see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist, and in view of many experts that do exist off our coasts, is also a way that we need to provide relief. Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial."
Obama, who wants to keep a moratorium on offshore drilling, will argue that McCain is offering a "gimmick" similar to the gas tax holiday proposal. Obama opposes the gas tax holiday that McCain supports, arguing the Arizona senator's proposal could cripple highway funding while offering minimal relief at the gas pump.
Obama will discuss his energy plan, which includes the promotion of "green jobs," at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas later today. The Springs Preserve is an historical site which showcases energy efficient buildings.
In Las Vegas this afternoon, Obama slammed McCain's energy proposals, arguing that they are "gimmicks" that may poll well but do not provide immediate relief. Obama said that he supports McCain's $300 million battery prize but that alone would not be enough. "When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win – he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people," Obama said.
Obama admitted that his own plan will not immediately affect gas prices but said his proposal for a second stimulus package will offer overall financial relief. "I wish I could wave a magic wand and make gas prices go down, but I can't," he said. "What I can do – and what I will do – is push for a second stimulus package that will send out another round of rebate checks to the American people."