Muckraker: Grist on Politics

John McCain did an interview via satellite yesterday with WSYX ABC News in Columbus, Ohio, in which he claimed that the United States has the world’s largest oil reserves. You can watch the video, or here’s a transcript of the relevant section:

Reporter: Now, some say it would be health care, some say it’s the war. To you, what is the single biggest issue for America if you become president?

McCain: I think the single biggest issue is to get our economy going, and a key element of that is creation of jobs, with alternate energy, clean coal, wind, tide, solar, automobiles that run on flex-fuel, hydrogen, and batteries. Making use of the coal reserves in Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The world’s largest oil reserves are in the United States of America. And nuclear power. Nuclear power — we can build 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 and create 700,000 new jobs. We’ve got to put Americans back to work.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world are Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Venezuela, Russia, Libya, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan, followed by the United States (other rankings put the U.S. even further down the list).

McCain’s spokesfolk claim their candidate really meant to say that the United States has the world’s largest coal reserves. That, in fact, is true.

This error follows on the heels of another energy blunder: McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin claiming that Alaska produces 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, which is entirely false.