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Toledo Blade - Obama Touts Energy Plan, $1,000 Tax Rebate, at Ohio Stop

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Location: Youngstown, OH

Toledo Blade - Obama Touts Energy Plan, $1,000 Tax Rebate, at Ohio Stop

Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama Tuesday vowed to break America's "addiction'' to foreign oil over the next 10 years, but in the meantime he wants a $1,000-per-person tax rebate to help consumers feed their habit.

As his Republican opponent, John McCain, toured the Fermi 2 plant near Monroe to call attention to his plan to construct as many as 45 new power plants by 2030, Mr. Obama used a pair of northeastern events to voice support for his tax credit and characterize the Arizona senator's plan to increase offshore drilling as just an extension of President Bush's policies.

"His plan will not lower prices today,'' Mr. Obama told a crowd of about 2,500 at Austintown Fitch High School. "You won't see a drop of oil from John McCain's plan for the next seven years. Increased domestic oil production certainly has its place as we make our economy more fuel efficient.

"While John McCain's plan won't save you at the pump, it sure has raised him a lot of campaign dollars,'' he said. "Senator McCain raised more than one million dollars from the oil industry just last month, most of which came after he announced his plan for offshore drilling to a roomful of oil executives.''

He barely mentioned nuclear power, which, he said, would likely play a role as the country attempts to deal with the issue of nuclear waste.

President Bush last week used a suburban Cleveland event to ramp up pressure on Congress to lift barriers to new oil exploration off shore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Congress responded by recessing for the summer.

Mr. McCain has aggressively pushed for off-shore drilling while Mr. Obama's opposition on the issue has recently softened, saying he may consider it as part of a comprehensive energy package. Both men remain opposed to new drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge.

Mr. Obama wants to spend $150 million over 10 years to develop renewable energy, biofuels, and a commercial plug-in hybrid vehicle. He has called for a quarter of all of America's energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, a goal that is more ambitious than that recently enacted by Ohio.

Both candidates promote development of cleaner coal technology, particularly in a mining state that depends on coal for 90 percent of its electricity.

"I know that Ohio has the second highest potential of all 50 states to create new wind energy manufacturing jobs and investing in wind power could increase workers' wages in Ohio by more than $3.5 billion through the year 2020,'' said Mr. Obama.

"I also know that with the right investments, Ohio could save $24 billion a year that you spend importing energy from other states, and instead, power two million homes using wind power,'' he said. "Imagine what that would do for the economy of Ohio and in the long term what it would do to your electricity bills.''

After speaking in Youngstown, Mr. Obama planned to hold a similar energy town hall meeting in the Cleveland suburb of Berea Tuesday. While he then headed for Indiana, Mr. McCain is expected to squeeze in campaign stops in southern and western Ohio Wednesday and Thursday.

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