Friday, September 19th, 2014
Pants on Fire!
McCain
Says Obama opposes innovation, the electric car and "clean, safe, nuclear energy."

John McCain on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 in a Web ad

This 007 claim is out of ammo

A new Web video from Sen. John McCain's campaign portrays Sen. Barack Obama as an opponent of electric cars, nuclear power and energy "innovation."

With music that sounds like the 007 theme, the ad opens with Obama in silhouette and the words "Barack Obama Is Dr. No."

The words change to "No To Drilling Offshore Oil" while Obama is heard saying, "Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today."

The screen says, "No To A Gas Tax Holiday" while Obama says, "I think John McCain's proposal for a three-month tax holiday is a bad idea."

"No To Innovation. No To The Electric Car" then appears, while Obama says "In this campaign, John McCain is offering the same old gimmicks."

The screen says "No To Clean, Safe, Nuclear Energy" while Obama says "I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal. I am not a nuclear energy proponent." The ad ends with the message: "Barack Obama Truly Is The Dr. No Of Energy Security."

The ad is part of an effort by the McCain campaign to portray Obama as an obstructionist on energy policy. The ad has a kind of split personality. While the drilling and gas tax claims were accurate, as we explain in this item, the other claims were strikingly wrong.

In this item, we'll examine the claims about electric cars, nuclear power and innovation.

Let's take electric cars first. To back this up, the McCain campaign cites Obama's statement that McCain's $300-million prize for improving car batteries was "a gimmick."

But that doesn't prove Obama said "no" to electric cars. (As our friends at FactCheck.org have pointed out, the McCain campaign ignored an Obama remark in which he was criticizing McCain for not doing more than the battery prize.)

In fact, Obama has said his energy plan will lead to more electric cars. In a speech on June 16, Obama said his proposal to invest $150-billion in energy programs would lead to new jobs "that will be created when plug-in hybrids or electric cars start rolling off the assembly line here in Michigan."

In a speech on May 14, he praised Chrysler for "working to develop a system that integrates electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission."

That doesn't sound like "no" to us.

Against innovation? To back that up, the McCain campaign cites the same line that McCain's battery plan was a gimmick.

But Obama last October proposed a decade-long, $150-billion energy program that would increase research and create new jobs developing "climate-friendly energy supplies that will move us toward energy independence."

An 11-page account of his plan, titled Barack Obama's Plan to Make America a Global Energy Leader, includes incentives for communities to invest in biofuels refineries, more emphasis on clean coal and "safe and secure nuclear energy." That sounds to us like a pretty significant attempt at innovation.

Which brings us to the McCain ad's last point, that Obama said "No To Clean, Safe, Nuclear Energy." To the contrary, it's right there on page 4 of Obama's energy plan: "Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy." It's not a blanket endorsement — Obama says it's important to protect the security of nuclear fuel and waste and determine how to store the waste — but it's still a part of his plan.

So McCain is way, way off with these charges. It's not that he's just missing nuances or exaggerating; he has completely distorted Obama's positions, falsely claiming that Obama opposes research and innovation on the most significant political issue of the summer.

He portrays Obama as a impediment to energy research when the Democratic candidate has been at least as assertive on the issue as McCain has — and has been touting his energy plan since last October. It's so wrong we have to set the meter ablaze: Pants on Fire.