McCain's $300 Million Prize …and Other Matters from His Santa Barbara Energy Speech

Later today at Fresno State University in Santa Barbara, Calif., Sen. John McCain will discuss how "energy security is the great national challenge of our time."

Among other ideas, he'll propose inspiring "the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars."

Pooh-poohing proposals to take on OPEC directly," McCain will say, "some in Washington seem to think that we can still persuade OPEC to lower prices – as if reason or cajolery had never been tried before," he'll say. "Others have even suggested suing OPEC – as if we can litigate our way to energy security.  But America is not going to meet this great challenge as a supplicant or a plaintiff.  We are not going to meet it with words at all – we are going to meet it with action.  We’re going to produce more, conserve more, and invent more."

With that, McCain will propose leveling "the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline" and issue a "Clean Car Challenge" -- a $5,000 tax credit for each and every customer who buys a zero-emission vehicle.

Democrats are focusing on McCain's reversal last week on off shore drilling, pointing out the irony of McCain's presence in Santa Barbara given that flip flop and given the fact that the creator of Earth Day, former Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisc., came up with the idea after seeing the results of an off-shore-drilling disaster while in Santa Barbara.

In 1969, Nelson came up with Earth Day after seeing the results of an oil spill at a Unocal platform off the city's coast. (Links from the Democrats about this 39-year-old spill: HERE and HERE.)

- jpt

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