Drill Alaska, Drill Now, Pay Less


This Republican delegate's hat reads "Drill Alaska, Drill Now, Pay Less." (Photo: Bobby Bascomb)

When Arizona Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination in St. Paul to be president of the United States he promised to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades: bringing energy production home.

MCCAIN: "We will drill new wells offshore, and we'll drill them now. We'll drill them now.

"My friends, we'll build more nuclear power plants. We'll develop clean coal technology. We'll increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We'll encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles."

And McCain says if Americans want to stop sending $700 billion every year for energy to unfriendly nations and protect the planet, they should vote Republican.

One of the big questions hanging over the McCain campaign all summer has been, is McCain moving Republicans toward action on climate change or is the party pulling him the other way, toward traditional support for oil and fossil fuels?

Senator McCain talked about plans for clean energy, but he used the phrases oil, drilling and nuclear energy ten times. The words climate change or global warming never passed his lips, in the acceptance speech. In fact, all week only one prime time speaker here at the convention used the phrase global warming, and that speaker was Joe Lieberman, who, of course, is not a Republican. Senator McCain's platform does include a cap and trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

It was just mid June that McCain changed his position on drilling, and that change has paid off for him politically. He seems to be in sync with a shift in public opinion. It also coincides with a pretty significant up-tick in his fundraising. McCain is now by far the largest recipient of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry -- more than $1.5 million so far, and that's more than three times what Obama has taken from the industry.