Presidential Debate: Did Anyone Else Hear McCain Say, ‘No one can be opposed to alternate energy’?

  • Published on September 29th, 2008

The theme of the first presidential debate on Friday night was set to be foreign policy and national security. However, with the current economy on everyone’s mind, the discussion delved fairly deeply into the economic crisis and possible solutions. And despite Jim Lehrer’s work to keep the discussion away from energy and the environment, Sen. Barack Obama made some connections between economic revitalization and rebuilding our energy infrastructure. In that particular exchange, Senator Obama raised the issue of McCain’s questionable support for renewable energy:

“Over 26 years, Sen. McCain voted 23 times against alternative energy like solar, and wind, and biodiesel. We gotta walk walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to energy independence.”

McCain replied with a sneer that was the first of many such gestures throughout the night and said, “No one from Arizona is against solar.” When Obama pushed even further on McCain’s questionable support for renewables, the Republican Senator replied, “I have voted for alternate fuel all of my time and no one can be opposed to alternate energy!

Watch it:


Throughout this campaign, McCain has been claiming that he is Mr. Renewable Energy, but the Senator’s record says something completely different. I understand that it can be demanding work – being the star in a busy presidential campaign –  but when renewable energy tax credits come up for a vote in the Senate, Senator McCain can’t even be bothered to show! And that has been the case even when he is already in town and his vote would be the deciding one.

For the Senator to come out and perpetrate such misinformation with his “Of course I support,” and his “No one is against” claims is more than a little disingenuous, it is a boldface lie. A lie he has repeated so many times now, he must be starting to believe in it himself.

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.
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  • He actually said he supported 'alternate fuels' which means he voted for ethanol. And then he followed on with two rhetorical statements: "No one in Arizona is against solar," and "No one can be opposed…"

    In terms of political-speak, if you say you 'support' something, you have to have the voting record to back it up. McCain does not have that.

  • Hiddukel

    Interesting point. However, I think there's some mis-interpretation going on here. He sais he's for renewable energies… it's a pretty general and bland statement. I wouldn't call it a lie… because he doesn't specifically say, he's "for all renewable energy plans, regardless of what they are".

    Just because something gets painted as "green" or "renewable energy", does that mean you have to give 100% support no matter what, in order to be able to say your "for renewable energy"? If you say/think yes, then I got some "renewable energies" to see you… at the price of 1 trillion dollars…. support it, or else your a liar. Come on..If you decide not to support this tax break, doe that mean your anti-renewable energy and/or a liar for saying your in full support of renewable energy? No, it just means you don't support a particular aspect of it.

    In this case here, McCain may very well support a lot of renewable energy ideas, plans, and what-have-you… but when it comes to this tax break proposal, he's not. In order to say (and believe) he's lying about his statement, you'd have come up with evidence that shows without a doubt, that he is against everything about renewable energy (as a whole, not just 1 aspect out of thousands).

    So what he sais is true… he's for renewable energy… he just doesn't think a tax break for these renewable energy companies should be put in place…


  • whereisben

    This was just about the most bold faced of any lies–John McNuke has played the spoiler every chance he got this past year…Usually they just treat renewables as the shitboy when it's time for energy subsidies …but in this partisan year, the dems and repubs decided that they would flush the wind and solar industry down the toilet entirely by killing all subsidies and continuing to give away 18 billion $ of YOUR taxpayer money to the oil and gas industry.

    Nice of the oil companies, eh? You get it at the pump and then they come around again in April.

    If only Obama wasn't following the company line on Nukes and "let's squirt the emissions under the ground and into the ocean" Coal, then he would actually have some leverage on this issue.

    It's time for an independent voice to call both of them out for their lies…offshore drilling lowering gas prices? "Reprocessing" nuke fuel like it makes any difference? it's still too expensive, too dangerous and takes too long to make a difference in our climate problem.

    Solar and wind and efficiency work RIGHT NOW.

  • Yep, heard it. Also heard him say horseshit and other assorted pleasantries. Glad you caught that and are mentioning it, as the media sure isn't!