Gas Tax Central Issue in Presidential Campaign

May 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Most economists say a gas tax holiday is a bad idea. But Hillary Clinton and John McCain are still pushing for a tax break they say will save drivers eight billion dollars.It could end up helping oil companies turn bigger profits, or it could really save California drivers a lot of money.

In this state, people pay 60 cents-a-gallon in federal and state taxes. That's not far off the highest taxes in the entire country and its 17 cents more than the national average.

The federal gas tax is 18 cents and the debate over cutting it for three months is becoming one of the central issues in the fight to be the democratic presidential nominee.

Hillary Clinton appeared on "This Week" for a town hall-style meeting. She took questions from voters in the two now pivotal states of Indiana and North Carolina.

Barack Obama gave an hour-long interview to "Meet The Press". Twice Obama compared the policies of his rival, to Republicans. First, on the temporary lifting of the federal gas tax: "This gas tax which was first proposed by John McCain and then quickly adopted by Senator Clinton, is a classic Washington gimmick."

Then Obama took on Clinton's threat to "obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. "I think its language that's reflective of George Bush."

On ABC'S THIS WEEK, Clinton declined to back away from her remark. "I don't think it's time to equivocate about what we would do. They have to know they would face massive retaliation. (So no regrets?) No. Why would I have any regrets."

The polls show Clinton tightening the gap in both Indiana and North Carolina, states where Obama once led. Even if she gains momentum Tuesday, Obama will still have a substantial, if not insurmountable, lead in delegates.

It has been four decades since Indiana mattered in a democratic primary. Indiana calls itself the crossroads of America and now it could be the crossroads of the democratic primary.


Load Comments