Bush to Congress: Allow Offshore Drilling

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WASHINGTON - Record high gas and oil prices are taking center stage in the presidential campaign.

Even President Bush is weighing in, calling on Congress to lift a ban on offshore drilling for oil.

Revisiting Offshore Drilling

The ban on offshore drilling has been in place more than 25 years.

But today, the President is urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to lift the ban as a way to increase domestic oil production and help ease the pressure of America's pain at the pump.

"I can't even fill up my tank. It's $5.00 here, $4.00 here. I can't afford it," one disgruntled driver said.

Another said, "I'll take a bike to work or something if I have to."

McCain Presents His Own Energy Policy

Bush's call lends a hand to Sen. John McCain, who on Tuesday, outlined his energy policy.

"I will set forth a strategy to free America once and for all from our strategic dependence on foreign oil," McCain said.

McCain's plan now includes support for offshore drilling as a short-term fix. It is a position, the Obama campaign points out, he did not have when he campaigned for the White House eight years ago.

"This is yet another reversal by John McCain in terms of his earlier positions and I think we could set up an interesting debate between John McCain 2000 and John McCain 2008," Obama said.

All the talk about energy and offshore drilling shows just how important an issue this is to voters.

With Americans paying $4.00 or more for a gallon of regular gasoline, the economy is the number one concern among voters looking for relief from rising gas prices.

According to a poll taken before McCain's announcement, most voters believe offshore drilling could help bring some relief.

Sixty-four percent believe gas prices would go down if offshore drilling continued. Only 27-percent did not.

Candidates Duke it Out Over Energy

But in presidential politics, there are more disagreements when it comes to energy.

Although he said he was open to the idea of a windfall profits tax on oil companies last month, McCain now criticizes Obama for supporting the idea, comparing the Illinois senator's energy proposals to those of former President Jimmy Carter.

"My friends, I'm all for recycling, but it's better applied to paper and plastic than the failed policies of the 1970s," McCain said.

Obama says McCain, who is also campaigning as a conservationist, doesn't have a record to stand on.

Obama said, "His rhetoric is undercut by a record of voting time and time again against important investments in renewable energy."

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