Local Republicans bash Democrats, push energy agenda

John Hacker

One paragraph out of a speech given by Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama in Springfield on Aug. 1 has sent Republicans across the country to their nearest gas station waving tire gauges and deriding them as "Obama's energy plan."

Two such groups staked out convenience stores in Duenweg and on Missouri 43 south of Joplin on Thursday to make their points.

At the Go Zone convenience store at Seventh Street and Missouri Highway 249, State Rep. Bryan Stevenson, Jasper County Republican Central Committee Chairman John Putnam and other volunteers handed out free tire gauges and held hand-made signs deriding the gauges as Obama's energy plan.

"The other day, when Sen. Obama was in Springfield, in the middle of his speech he said all we need to do is keep our tires inflated and it would decrease our gasoline usage by three percent and that would solve all our oil problems," Stevenson said. "Senator McCain has a much better plan, which is drill here, drill now, alternative energy, increased mileage for cars. Senator McCain understands that you cannot have a simple answer to a complex problem."

Stevenson said McCain's energy plan is better.

"I don't think it's out of context when he (Obama) has consistently voted in the Senate against expanding oil production, and he has consistently voted against gas refining," Stevenson said.

"Whenever you look at the voting history over the last 15 years in the House and the Senate both, 90 percent of the time, your Republicans vote for increasing supply and 90 percent of your Democrats vote against increased supply. I think Barack's position is very clear, he is opposed to off-shore drilling, he is opposed to drilling in ANWR, he is opposed to drilling in the Rockies, he is opposed to expanding nuclear power and he is opposed to clean coal. I think that probably the best part of his plan is keeping your tires inflated so while he may have a lot of pieces, they are not practical, they are not realistic, whereas McCain's plan is a lot more realistic and it covers a lot more areas."

Blunt in Washington

In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt used a conference call from Washington, D.C. to speak with local reporters about the decision by Democratic leaders of Congress to adjourn for a five-week break without allowing a vote on offshore drilling and other energy measures.

"You've heard the stories I can tell, from the mom who no longer goes to the away games, to the people who are waiting three hours every day for work to start so they can get by with one car, to the volunteer fireman who doesn't mind giving of his time but can't afford the gas anymore, or the guy who said his gas bill was bigger than his mortgage payment because he's driving from Stockton to Joplin every day to work," Blunt said. "Our members were outraged on Friday when not only the majority wouldn't stay and work but also when the majority wouldn't allow them the normal courtesy of five minutes to speak on the floor for the hundred or so of our members who indicated they might like to stay on Friday and continue talking about energy through the end of the day.

"It turned out we stayed anyway, we just stayed without microphones or even lights in the chamber, but clearly Americans are interested in this effort and would like the Congress to do its job."

Obama in Springfield

In a visit to Springfield on Aug. 1, Barack Obama said maintaining proper tire pressure was one way Americans could save on gasoline. Here is Obama's quote on tire gauges from a video of the speech found on youtube.com.

"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. ... Making sure your tires are properly inflated - simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling - if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much."

On the Web:

Obama's energy proposals can be found here:


McCain's energy plan can be found here:


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