At a town hall meeting in Wayne, PA today, Barack Obama took aim at John McCain’s gas tax holiday proposal. “Well it is time for a President who will take on the big oil and gas companies so we can finally meet our energy challenge; a President who will help Americans pay their rising gas bills during these difficult economic times,” Obama said.
“And that will be a real difference in this election – because while Senator McCain has spoken out on energy reform in the past, in this campaign, he isn’t offering any solutions to help Americans pay for high gas prices. Instead, he’s proposing a gas tax holiday that’s nothing more than a Washington stunt,” he continued.
Obama also made the point that the gas tax holiday will do more harm than good, “But here’s the thing. It’s not just that Senator McCain’s proposal won’t give hardworking families real relief; it’s that his proposal will actually do real harm. His gas tax holiday will take $3 billion a month out of the highway trust fund and hand it over to the oil companies. That’s $3 billion a month that will no longer be going to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, or to ensure drivers’ safety and instead will be going to set new records for oil company profits.”
He put the gas tax holiday proposal in terms that PA voters understand, the economy and jobs, “And at a time when the unemployment rate is rising faster than at any point in the past twenty years, this idea would cost another 300,000 jobs in the construction industry, including more than 11,000 right here in Pennsylvania.”
Barack Obama has learned his lesson well in the state of Pennsylvania. In the Keystone State, every non-incumbent talks about change, but the magic word, especially in the parts of the state where Obama has struggled, is jobs. If he keeps campaigning in the state, and hammering the message that his concept of change includes jobs, he will have little trouble beating McCain.
The most recent PA poll showed Obama up by eight over McCain. That margin could drop a little into what has become the standard 5 point Pennsylvania win for the Democratic candidate in a general election.