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Barack Obama Calls for Sweeping Energy Overhaul, Perhaps Ensuring His Election - VIDEO

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AP photo

By Marc J. Rauch, Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
Originally published August 4, 2008

Hopeful Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a half-hour midday speech in Lansing, Michigan today that is the most important policy statement given by any 2008 candidate so far, and it may very well put him in the White House for at least four years.

Let me start by saying that I have not been a fan or supporter of Obama, nor have I believed that he could win the Presidential election. However with Obama’s speech today, which was tantamount to a JFK-style declaration to land a man on the moon in ten years, I may change my mind.

In his speech, Obama affirmatively addressed virtually all energy alternatives as being open for acceptance in his projected administration, including the two biggest issues that Democrat politicians usually find abhorrent: new nuclear power plants and new off-shore oil drilling. Although Obama offered his acquiescence to new off-shore oil drilling as only a half-hearted acceptance if it would allow other energy initiatives to be adopted by congress, it was at least an acknowledgement by the Democrat party that it is time they dropped their ridiculous opposition to such actions. And while Obama’s positive mention of nuclear power came in just one short sound-bite, I felt that even this brief reference was like kicking a locked-door open.

For the past few years, my partner, Bob Gordon, and I have espoused the urgent need to adopt a Federally-mandated, government supported “Manhattan Project” program that would convert the U.S. economy from being dependent upon oil (particularly foreign oil) to an economy that is reliant upon domestically produced energy resources. Our latest White Paper on the subject, which proposes the elimination of all new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2014, can be found by CLICKING HERE.

While I’m personally disappointed that it was not John McCain that broke the ice and made this comprehensive policy proposal, as a citizen of the world I’m thrilled that it was made by any front-running Presidential candidate because it echoes our belief that the current global post-dotcom economic woes will only be overcome by the universal acceptance of alternative energy resources and the new products and jobs that will be developed as a result.

Obama’s proposal calls for government commitments to spend billions of dollars to help U.S. automakers re-tool and re-open domestic plants that will churn out energy-efficient, alternative energy vehicles. He also projects giving significant tax-credits for buying alternative-fuel vehicles; nearly 100% more than existing Federal tax credits. Moreover, Obama’s proposal appears to acknowledge and accept the importance of wind power in the mix, which is something that Bob and I have advocated for some time. Conversely, while McCain has publicly stated his support for new nuclear energy plants, be has been rather silent on the issue of wind power as a viable energy resource, although he has had availed himself of several opportunities to become very familiar with wind energy options.

Click PLAY to watch Obama's speech

My only other disappointment in Obama’s announcement was that he didn’t (or wouldn’t) require U.S. automakers to immediately begin building CNG and propane-powered vehicles for domestic distribution. One of the great tragedies of the past eight years is that GM, Ford and Chrysler have abandoned production of these vehicles for U.S. distribution (they currently make these vehicles for distribution in other countries).

Subsequent to Obama’s speech McCain made informal comments in which he joined in need for the use of all alternative fuel and energy options, but being done in a less-formal, less-committed fashion I felt that he (McCain) was simply trying to play catch-up with the inclusive, mandatory nature of Obama’s proposal. Perhaps Obama’s first strike at this most important issue will light a fire under McCain, and will put into the limelight the need to get away from the big oil companies, in general, and foreign oil companies/countries, in particular. Regardless of who wins the election, this is the biggest issue that we face, and this is the issue that should decide who becomes the next President.

Obama acknowledged that his proposal seems grandiose, but cheered “We can do it!” I agree; we can do it, so let’s get it done.

To watch The Auto Channel's exclusive video of John McCain's comments at the Clean Air Congress exposition in Phoenix CLICK HERE.