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Drilling Away at McCain

In his new energy address today, Sen. Barack Obama keeps dialing up the pressure on McCain. During prepared remarks in Indiana, Obama slams McCain as a desperate sell-out who has no maverick independence left:

The centerpiece of [McCain's] entire energy plan is more drilling. It’s a proposal that won’t yield a drop of oil for at least seven years, but it’s produced a gusher for Sen. McCain. Because after he announced his drilling proposal to a room full of oil executives, the industry ponied up nearly a million dollars in contributions. That’s the kind of special interest-driven politics that’s stopped us from solving our energy crisis… I know Sen. McCain likes to call himself a – and the fact is, there are times when he’s shown independence from his party in the past. But the price he paid for his party’s nomination was to reverse himself on position after position, and now he embraces the failed Bush policies and politics that helped break Washington in the first place – and **that doesn’t exactly meet my definition of a **…

Later, he says McCain’s energy plan is so biased toward oil companies that it sounds like an "early Christmas present." These are the kind of sharp, folksy attacks that Obama usually avoids on the trail. He also continues to hammer McCain as a flip-flopper, teeing off this week’s buzz for the fall debate announcement:

We just agreed to a series of debates in the fall, but the most interesting one that’s going on these days is the debate between John McCain and John McCain.

This afternoon, the DNC is piling on with a new "ExxonMcCain" attack strategy — complete with a dedicated website and doctored photo (below). It reinforces Obama’s argument that McCain’s energy plan is not only ineffective for oil production, given the limits and multi-year delays of drilling, but also a craven sellout to campaign contributors. Simply complaining that McCain does not deserve his "maverick" reputation, as many Democrats have done for months, is mild and largely ineffective. Supplanting the "maverick" image with a new label, like sellout or oil stooge, might be a more effective tack for the Democrats.

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