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Senator McCain's Weekly Radio Address

July 26, 2008

Good morning. I'm John McCain, and this week the presidential contest was a long-distance affair, with my opponent touring various continents and arriving yesterday in Paris. With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Senator Obama now addressing his speeches to "the people of the world," I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are too.

Back here in the country that we are competing to lead, a lot folks were having trouble trying to square Senator Obama's multiple positions on the surge in Iraq. First, he opposed the surge and confidently predicted that it would fail. Then he tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge. But now that it's clear that the surge has succeeded, and brought victory in Iraq within sight, Senator Obama can't quite bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment. Instead, he commits the even greater error of insisting that even in hindsight, he would still oppose the surge. Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory. That's not exactly my idea of the judgment we seek in a commander-in-chief.

Oddly enough, my opponent advocates the deployment of two new combat brigades to Afghanistan -- in other words, a surge. We're left to wonder how he can deny that the surge in Iraq has succeeded, while at the same time announcing that a surge is just what we need in Afghanistan. I'll leave all these questions for my opponent and his team of 300 foreign policy advisors to work out for themselves. With luck, they'll get their story straight by the time the Obama campaign returns to North America.

I spent the past week in Maine, Upstate New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado. And I spoke with voters about how to get the American economy running at full strength again. We need to stay focused on creating jobs for our people, and protecting paychecks from the rising costs of food, gasoline, and most everything else. Above all, we need to get a handle on the cost of oil and gasoline, and to regain energy independence for America.

In Maine, eight out of ten homes use heating oil. And with the cost of that fuel approaching $5 per gallon, many families will have to spend a thousand dollars or more every time they fill their tank, just to keep warm this winter. This is just one example of the troubles Americans face. And for our truckers, farmers, and taxi drivers, the need for relief is just as great.

Yet even now, with the price of gasoline at four dollars or more per gallon, the Congress has done exactly nothing to suspend the federal gas tax. Incredibly, some in Congress are actually in favor of raising the gas tax by another ten cents per gallon. And Senator Obama has proposed a windfall profits tax on oil that could simply be passed on to consumers, raising prices at the pump even more. My energy plan will save Americans money at the pump in the best possible way -- by not taking it away in the first place.

We also need to act right now to increase America's own energy production. Last week, the President finally lifted the executive ban on offshore oil and gas exploration, and called on Congress to lift its ban as well. The Congress now has the sole power to lift the ban, but so far they just can't be bothered to get around to it. Lifting that ban would seriously lower the price of oil -- and Congress should get it done immediately. As a matter of fairness to the American people, we need to drill more, drill now, and pay less at the pump.

Under my plan, we will also make use of America's vast coal reserves. As president, I will commit this nation to a concerted effort to make clean coal a reality and create jobs in hard-pressed regions. And America will pursue the goal of building 45 nuclear power plants before 2030. Senator Obama is not a proponent of nuclear power. But I wonder if he noticed while he was in France that they draw 80 percent of their electricity from nuclear energy. And nations from Europe to Asia are expanding their use of this clean, proven, and stable source of energy.

Regaining control over the cost and supply of energy in America will not be easy, and it will not happen quickly. But no challenge to our economy and security is more urgent. And you have my pledge that if I am president, we're going to get it done.

Thanks for listening.

John McCain, Senator McCain's Weekly Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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