Clinton Commutes for Votes, Pumps Gas Tax Debate

ABC News' Eloise Harper and Sarah Amos Report: Hillary Clinton is making the morning commute in search of votes.Though, for the past 16 years, she's traveled in the security-mandated comfort of sleek black Secret Service suburbans in which traveling "shotgun" has an entirely different meaning, Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., is turning pain at the gas pump into an election issue. Making her point on Wednesday in Indiana, Clinton rode to work with Jason Wilfing, a sheet metal worker from South Bend. Wilfing picked up Clinton from her hotel in the boss's truck for arguably one of the nation's most unusual midweek commutes.  Trailed by several police cars and surrounded by two rather large suburbans, Wilfing drove with Clinton in the passenger's seat and an armed Secret Service agent keeping watch in the back. The pair stopped at a gas station en route to work and pumped over $60 into the tank (Clinton paid but did not pump, admitting she had not pumped her own gas in a while given round-the-clock Secret Service protection and also, notably, properly upholding the "Wilfing flies, Clinton buys" rule).While inside the station, Clinton attempted to buy a cup of coffee, making her way over to the coffee machine where she had a little trouble getting it to work. Her chief of staff quickly helped her fill up a French Vanilla cappuccino.  The clerk joked that it would be $10 prompting Clinton to comment that would be the most expensive cappuccino she'd ever had. The total was $1.23, she handed over a Lincoln and, as she departed added, "I'd love to have your support on Tuesday."When Wilfing and Clinton arrived at the Sheet Metal Factor, Clinton delivered brief remarks, once again, expressing her support for a gas tax holiday and criticizing her Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for not doing the same.HOW DO THE CANDIDATES COMPARE AT THE PUMP? WATCH THE "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" VIDEO BY CLICKING HERESeveral states away in North Carolina, former President Bill Clinton was on message, pumping rising gas prices and record oil company profits for votes."There's a difference between the two candidates here," Clinton told the crowd at one his seven events in North Carolina on Wednesday, "Her opponent says, 'Well, she's just pandering to voters.' That's not true. Look, folks, there are people out here who are choosing every week now between driving to work and having enough food for their kids, between driving to work and paying their medicine bills."

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.Clinton emphasized the difference between the candidates, telling the Apex, N.C. crowd, "She just disagrees with her opponent on this. Hillary has got a long record as an environmentalist. But to say that giving people a little slack on these gas prices is going to discourage us from switching to higher mileage cars is just factually wrong. We're dealing with people here that cannot pay their bills. And it's going to be a tremendous drag on the economy if we let this situation continue. So she believes that we should suspend (the federal gas tax), get people through the summertime, the high driving months."All three presidential contenders traded jabs on the campaign trail on Tuesday regarding their varying positions on a gas tax holiday."This isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer, it's designed to get them through an election," Obama told a Winston-Salem town hall crowd. "The easiest thing in the world for a politician to do is to tell you what they think you want to hear. But if we're gonna solve our challenges right now, then we've gotta start telling the American people what they need to hear. Tell 'em the truth."Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fired back at Obama on Tuesday, charging that the Illinois Senator doesn't fully grasp the current state of the U.S. economy."Barack Obama doesn't understand the effect of high gas prices on the American economy," Bounds said in a statement released to the press. "Senator Obama voted for a gas tax reduction before he opposed it, he has no plan for relief from record-high gas prices for Americans this summer, and he's the empty-tank candidate in this race."ABC News' Bret Hovell and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.

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