You're going to be examining our proposals tonight and in the future, and energy independence is a way to do that, is one of them. And drilling offshore and nuclear power are two vital elements of that. And I've been supporting those and I know how to fix this economy, and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, and stop sending $700 billion a year overseas.
McCain probably needs to stop staying he "knows" how to do something, because it can make people wonder why anyone would think otherwise, but he's on solid ground here. We're still not convinced on the efficacy of offshore drilling, but he is, and who here is a single issue voter anyway?
We can work on nuclear power plants. Build a whole bunch of them, create millions of new jobs. We have to have all of the above, alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal technology. All of these things we can do as Americans and we can take on this mission and we can overcome it.
We like clean coal insofar as it keeps an American industry alive, but might suggest alternative fuel companies look to coal country to set themselves down. We suspect there's a work force there hungry for, shall we say, alternative employment.
We're going to have to develop clean coal technology and safe ways to store nuclear energy.
McCain gets a bit exasperated:
Now, how -- what's -- what's the best way of fixing it [ciimate change]? Nuclear power. Sen. Obama says that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that.
Look, I -- I was on Navy ships that had nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is safe, and it's clean, and it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs.
And -- and I know that we can reprocess the spent nuclear fuel. The Japanese, the British, the French do it. And we can do it, too. Sen. Obama has opposed that.
We see the point, though annoyance clogged McCain's meaning a bit. If we understand Obama, he thinks plants are safe enough. But he doesn't like Yucca Mountain or transporting fuel to it - not "safe" enough.
Obama takes issue:
And that's why we've got to make some investments and I've called for investments in solar, wind, geothermal. Contrary to what Sen. McCain keeps on saying, I favor nuclear power as one component of our overall energy mix.
He goes on to ding McCain for not voting for alternative energy when it has come up, but that raises our antennae. Candidates always ding each other for voting down stinky bills (say, killing baby seals for science) despite some supportable provisions (alternative energy funding). All candidates do this - McCain got Obama on 45 tax hikes using the same trick - but it should be mothballed.
Back to McCain:
And as far as nuclear power is concerned, again, look at the record. Sen. Obama has approved storage and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
Oops! We think he means "has not approved."
We picked the transcript up here. (We heard McCain's oops ourselves, so that's not CNN's goof.)
Take away: McCain greatly favors nuclear energy. Period.
But Obama - hrmm! He has a tough time engaging with it - we plucked out every reference from both candidates, so the imbalance here is down to them - but recognizes that no energy policy can omit it.
That leads to reasonable worries about what Obama might actually do - we don't think he would kill government support, but that's a pretty low bar to clear. Industry and a Democratic Congress are clearly moving on nuclear energy, and Obama would have to deal with both. That's a higher bar. Beyond that, though, mystery.
What do you think? Presumably, energy has taken second seat even in our minds to economic issues, and what the candidates said on the economy will undoubtedly have greater sway over voters than their energy proposals. We won't be so single-minded as to suggest it should be otherwise. Niche blog we may be, but niche voters no.
Still: has Obama finessed nuclear energy to within an inch of its life? Is McCain's embrace of all-of-the-above when it comes to energy an invitation to policy chaos? Time's getting short.
So, until next Wednesday - Long Island, this time.
Correction: we duplicated a paragraph accidentally. Fixed.