Muckraker: Grist on Politics

In the ongoing energy ad battle, John McCain released another television ad today on the subject. Or at least it purports to be about energy. The ad juxtaposes video of Obama at his recent speech in Berlin with photos of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and alleges that while he might be celebrated the world over, he’s not ready to lead on energy concerns.

“He’s the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead?” the ad asks. “With gas prices soaring, Barack Obama says no to offshore drilling. And says he’ll raise taxes on electricity. Higher taxes, more foreign oil. That’s the real Obama.”

Watch the ad:

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Leaving aside the issue of equating Obama and Paris Hilton, the ad includes other questionable elements. While Obama does oppose offshore drilling, the suggestion that drilling would lower gas prices anytime soon has been undermined by the Bush administration’s own Energy Information Administration. And while McCain suggests that Obama would encourage more dependence on foreign oil, the candidate has in fact put forward a comprehensive plan to reduce dependence through methods other than increased drilling — including improved efficiency and increased use of alternative fuel sources.

As for the tax on electricity, that’s not something Obama has ever called for. If McCain is — like some others in his party — insinuating that putting in place a cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon emissions is essentially a tax, McCain would be guilty of endorsing the same.

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McCain’s new ad is airing on national cable television and in key swing states.