John McCain touts his support of offshore oil drilling, a gas tax holiday, an electric car battery innovation prize and nuclear power in one of the most pleasing-to-watch ads of the campaign.
With a James Bond motif, the ad calls Barack Obama the "Dr. No of Energy Security."
But FactCheck.org says the ad lacks in truth what it has in charm, concluding that it "misrepresents" and "distorts" Obama's energy policy:
The ad portrays Obama as saying "no" to energy "innovation" and to "the electric car." In fact, Obama proposed a $150 billion program of research into a wide variety of clean-energy technologies last year, long before McCain proposed to award a $300 million prize for developing a commercially viable battery package capable of powering automobiles.
The ad also has Obama saying "no" to "clean, safe nuclear energy." In fact, Obama has said, "I have not ruled out nuclear... but only [would support it] so far as it is clean and safe."
First, opposing offshore oil drilling and a summer gas tax holiday is better than supporting them. Neither would significantly affect prices or oil supply, but both would counteract momentum toward developing a viable fuel-efficient and alternative fuel car fleet.
As FactCheck.org points out, Obama's energy plan take a comprehensive approach to investing in renewable energy technology, including electric cars. McCain's battery prize could spur innovation, as an effective battery is a key impediment to developing an electric car fleet, which is seen as a key piece of the strategy necessary to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions. But car companies are already working hard on the issue, so it's not clear whether that incentive, or Obama's proposal to offer tax incentives and other aid to retool Detroit factories would do more faster toward the worthy goal.
On nuclear energy, it's undeniable that McCain is a stronger champion for the technology than Obama, whose support is lukewarm and always couched with concern about radioactive waste. McCain, on the other hand, wants to see 45 new plants built by 2030.
Environmentalists have traditionally opposed nuclear power because the radioactive waste remains dangerous for centuries, because there's no great way to store it, and because there are ongoing safety concerns at several of the country's 103 plants. But in light of the global warming crisis, many are re-thinking their positions, as they see nuclear power as a flawed but powerful tool in producing abundant electricity without significant carbon dioxide pollution.
A larger point that the ad misleads on is that Obama isn't "for" anything. His $150 billion energy plan is centered around renewable energy investments and energy efficiency improvements, among a variety of other forward-looking initiatives.
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