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Campaign Notebook

McCain compares his energy plan to Kennedy moon program

Republican presidential candidate John McCain shook hands after concluding a town hall meeting with employees at the General Motors auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, yesterday. Republican presidential candidate John McCain shook hands after concluding a town hall meeting with employees at the General Motors auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, yesterday. (LM Otero/Associated Press)
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June 28, 2008

In a new television ad he launched yesterday, Republican John McCain compares his plan to make the country energy independent by 2025 to President Kennedy's 1961 declaration to put a man on the moon.

McCain has been on the hustings for days now, promoting his proposals for conservation, offshore oil drilling, nuclear power, and other initiatives to wean America off foreign oil. He calls it the "Lexington Project," a reference to the Revolutionary War battle in Massachusetts.

At the same time, he has been deriding Democrat Barack Obama as "Dr. No" - opposed to his proposals for energy independence, though Obama is pushing a plan to invest $150 billion over 10 years on alternative energy.

"American technology protected the world," the announcer says in the ad, which is to air on national cable and in undisclosed battleground states. "We went to the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

"John McCain will call America to our next national purpose: Energy Security," the narrator continues. "A comprehensive bipartisan plan to: Lower prices at the pump. Reduce dependence on foreign oil through domestic drilling. And champion energy alternatives for better choices and lower costs. Putting country first. McCain."

Democrats called the ad misleading, arguing that offshore oil drilling would provide no relief at the pump anytime soon and that McCain has a long record of voting against renewable energy.

"The real 'purpose' of John McCain's ad is to rewrite the history of how he has repeatedly stood in the way of responsible efforts to make America less dependent on foreign oil and create green jobs," Democratic National Committee communications director Karen Finney said in a statement. "In his 25 years in Washington, Senator McCain has been a part of the problem, not the solution on energy independence. Instead of political gimmicks and special interest giveaways, John McCain should offer a real plan that promotes green jobs, breaks our dependence on foreign oil, and invests in America's future."

FOON RHEE

McCain seeks to tie Obama to Carter record
John McCain, responding to Democrats' argument that his election would amount to a third term for President Bush, said that Barack Obama would represent a second term for Jimmy Carter.

In an interview published yesterday in the Las Vegas Sun, McCain dropped in a more strongly worded declaration: "Carter was a lousy president."

"This is the same guy who kissed [Leonid] Brezhnev," McCain added, referring to the Soviet leader forcing Carter into pecks on both cheeks after they signed a strategic arms control agreement in 1979.

While Obama has been trying to tie McCain to the president's policies on the struggling economy and in the continuing war in Iraq, McCain has been trying to tie Obama to Carter on tax policy and other issues, reminding voters of gas lines and inflation during the 1970s.

FOON RHEE

McCain responds to Obama remark on women's rights
LORDSTOWN, Ohio - John McCain chastised Barack Obama yesterday and called for face-to-face town hall meetings after being asked about a report that his rival claimed that if McCain is elected president, he will appoint a Supreme Court that rolls back gains in women's rights over the past 50 years.

"I respect Senator Obama and I admire his success, and I will conduct a respectful campaign," McCain said. "That kind of a statement or allegation is not worthy of Senator Obama or worthy of the debate that the American people want and deserve."

Reiterating his call for joint town hall meetings, McCain added, "If Senator Obama wants to make a statement like that while we're both on stage or before a group of Americans, then I will be glad to respond to him."

The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reported Thursday that Obama made the comment last week during a private meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. An Obama spokesman said he had no immediate comment on the report.

McCain toured a General Motors factory, where he told workers that he supports free-trade agreements many of them feel cost jobs, but also government investment to help produce the electric cars of the future. The plant produces the gas-thrifty Chevrolet Cobalt, and company officials recently announced they will add a third shift - and 1,400 workers - in August so they can build the cars 24 hours a day.

"We must develop vehicles such as are being developed here," McCain said. "We can lead again in the automotive industry and that can lead to thousands of jobs."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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