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August 4th, 2008
03:56 PM ET

Obama flip-flop on offshore drilling?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/04/art.obama.press.gi.jpg caption="Obama said he will not “support a plan that suggests this drilling is the answer to our energy problems.”"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama has changed his tune on offshore drilling.

In a reversal, he now says he'd be willing to compromise on his position against offshore drilling if it is part of a more comprehensive energy strategy that can lower gas prices. He praised a Senate bipartisan energy plan that combines alternative energy, nuclear energy and drilling. Obama insists his position is nothing new, and that he won't settle for a plan that suggests drilling is the only answer to our energy needs.

But, the fact of the matter is Obama has been speaking out against offshore drilling since John McCain made his own reversal in June – when he suggested we do away with the federal ban. In June, Obama told Florida voters that he intended to keep the moratorium in place to protect the coastline. Even as recently as Thursday, Obama called McCain's proposal "a strategy designed to get politicians through an election".

Polls show that most Americans support an increase in offshore oil drilling, 69% to 30%... although the public is split as to whether drilling would mean lower gas prices next year.

Meanwhile, another flip-flop from Obama on energy matters came today when he proposed the government sell 70 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum stockpile. He says this could help lower gas prices in the short term. But, in the past, Obama was against tapping into the reserve. His campaign says he reconsidered because "Americans are suffering".

Here’s my question to you: Why has Barack Obama changed his tune when it comes to offshore drilling?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Thomas from Bridgeport, Connecticut writes:
Jack, I don't understand all of this talk that Obama has changed his position. He has kept his same position which is against off-shore drilling. The only difference is that he does not want to stop a bipartisan compromise that includes steps to make America more energy independent from being passed in the Congress. I think that is a very presidential thing to do. Her can either settle or achieve nothing.

Diane writes:
Both Obama and McCain have 'shifted ground' on this and other issues. Can you spell P-A-N-D-E-R? By continually changing to appease an unhappy electorate, Obama will triangulate himself right out of the Oval Office.

Bryan from Greenville, North Carolina writes:
Jack, I think too much emphasis is placed on "flip-flopping". Apparently only the general public is allowed to adjust their view on subjects when they are presented with additional information or the situation changes. Let's try and focus on whether the view he espouses is good or bad for the country, not if it matches something he said last year or when he was a state

Bruce writes:
Jack, Sen. Obama hasn’t just changed his tune. He is rewriting the entire musical score. Just stay tuned.

Kay writes:
This race has deteriorated into a man who is listening and getting hammered for listening and a man who is talking with disdain for the man who is listening. Offshore drilling increases will not impact the next 5 years of oil speculation. As an upper income bracket Republican, I would rather pay for a few social programs with Obama than pay big oil on the backend with no foreseeable end to the Iraq conflict. America needs to go down a new path.

Amitola from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania writes:
Jack, He changed his mind and is willing to "compromise" to allow big oil to get their way and plunder our shorelines because Dick Cheney called him up and asked him nicely.


Filed under: Barack Obama • US Offshore Drilling
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Yes.

    He has almost no choice if he wants to have any chance of winning, which in my opinion he hasn't, but this is an imperative. In fairness, McCain has also changed his mind on this.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  2. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    At the end of the day, people would rather compromise on ecological concerns than endure economic hardship. In tough times like these it was admirable for Obama and the Democrats to try and defend the environment, but if compromising on offshore drilling is the only way to achieve bipartisan support for a comprehensive, green energy policy, it's a price we should gladly pay.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  3. Ed Reed

    Sen. McCain change his position on offshore drilling. People also forget it was the first President Bush who signed the Presidential order prohibiting drilling. Then Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, also opposed it. It seems like there's a whole lot of flip-flopping going on.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    August 4, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  4. Erico

    Hi Jack !! Senator Obama will be changing his tune to other issues besides 'offshore drilling'. Like all past, present and future politicians, he is also promising to change Washington's powerhouse. Can you believe that ? The dog bitting the master's hand !!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Kirven Dunham

    He is looking at a broad bill that would give both side something. That is the way it used to work before all this back an forth. We the public said we want our leaders to work together so we cannot get mad when they do.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  6. Mark, Oklahoma City

    It's very simple, Jack. As my father used to say, "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.

    Mark
    OKC

    August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  7. A Kraft Naples, FL

    changing one's thinking and adding it to other solutions to the oil crisis is not flip flopping....this man is intelligent and open to change....what a refreshing change from all other politicians.....and speaking of flip flopping McCain's shoes are falling off from his flip flopping on so many issues...

    August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  8. J.D.

    As the Republican Governor of California has pointed out, there is nothing wrong with the so-called "flip flop" if there is a bona fide reason to change position. Obama is faced with the prospect of getting nothing done or getting something done. Getting something done involves compromise and that includes some offshore drilling for the other side. Obama knows – as apparently most Americans do not – that offshore drilling will amount to no savings at the pump for about a decade and, even then, may not produce more than a cent or two off the price of a gallon of gas. His only hope to get us relief in the near term via alternative energy sources is to compromise on the Republican solution, even if that solution is at this point nothing more than a political drum for them to beat. Great theater in the Congress today, by the way.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Like the man said, Jack, there ain't no percentage in making the perfect the enemy of the good. I like the idea of once again having a cool headed, clear eyed, pragmatist in the oval office. Reminds me of both FDR's, Truman's, JFK's and LBJ's approach to most issues during their terms in office.

    Pablo in Arlington Texas

    August 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  10. Brian from Puerto Rico

    To win votes or maybe because the majority of the US people think it might be a good idea. What ever the reason, it's refreshing to see a politician take notice of the public for a change, rather than one that is so blinkered and full of there own agenda that they forget that it is the people of America that they work for (supposedly).

    August 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  11. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    Obama did a wonderful thing. He showed that he is open to compromise, will work with everyone on both sides of the aisle, compromising to get things done for everybody. Even if he was against offshore drilling, if the majority wants offshore drilling, it is his job to do what the American people want. I'm against offshore drilling, because its too little too late. But to get things done, work things out, sometimes we have to do what's best for everybody. I don't think its a flip flop. He is listening to the American people . That's what we need. Unlike other politicians who treat us like children who need to be protected from everything, because we are too stupid to decide for ourselves.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  12. David

    Jack when it comes to Offshore drilling the American People think that it will happen overnight ! Offshore drilling it's a process which cab take up to ten years. We are going to elect a President who will help us to get Health Care, Help to bring our troops back Home, Create Jobs and raise the American Economy which is bad right now. Not a President who wants our soldiers to stay in Iraq as long as we need to stay event 100 years. That is not a President America needs at this time. America needs a President who will bring change.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Warren - Detroit, MI

    Obama saw that raising speculation of more supply rather than his usual rhetoric of more demand yielded what taxpayers wanted: LOWER GAS PRICES!

    Too bad John McCain figured that one out a couple weeks prior (when oil started to go down).

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  14. Ron- San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    I doubt Mr. Obama has changed his opinion on off shore drilling. He is still opposed to it. Although the republican would like to give the impression that he now supports it. There is no point to off shore drilling. We need to take that money that would be spent on off shore drilling and invest it in alternative fuel sources. Like wind power.

    Ron San Diego

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Rod for Chicago

    John McCain said, “Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term about the future of the country.” What John McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them. And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Not to mention, that out of the last twenty eight years, twenty of those years, our nation energy policies were manipulated by an oil man in the Whitehouse representing his party interest (George Sr.12 year. George Jr.8 year) that have all but destroyed our Country. Finally, the question should be about John McCain and not about Barack Obama.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Peter M

    It is not a flip-flop. Listen to his speech in Lansing MI today. It is the best speech on energy ever made in this country for the last decade. It is comprehensive and requires bi-partisan compromise. Get over the old politics of either or. That is the MCBush mindset that gave us this mess of you are either with us or you are against us.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  17. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Maybe he read the polling results, which say that around 70% of the American people favor offshore and expanded drilling for oil. He knew better, he knows better, but the RNC propaganda machine has the people convinced that gving ExxonMobil et al even more power will solve problems. Since there is no single sound bite ( the only thing that the people can comprehend ) that can explain the chain of logic in not producing more of the stuff that is killing us all, the people have spoken, Politician that he is, Obama will give the republicans and profiteers more wells if he can obtain assurances that it is temporary, and will lead to the lessening of dependence on oil in the near future.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  18. Chris, Southern California

    It sure seems that way. Offshore drilling isn't the only answer to our energy problems, that much is true, but seepage from drilling facilities is still a problem and I don't want the waters in Florida or California to look like the Gulf of Mexico.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  19. Joy Ferguson

    Jack, I'm okay with Obama changing positions on off shore drilling. If the " MORON" we now have in office would admit once in a while he had made a misjudgement, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. I like John McCain, but I won't vote for him because he is now in the same league as Bush. I want to say to our country wake up. Can you not see what the Republicans have done to our morale, our economy and our standing abroad? Thank you for speaking up for the American people.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  20. Jim in BC

    He is simply adjusting to political realities and knows how the system works. He is as honest as a politician can be and this may be his downfall.

    McCain on the other hand is a twaddler. Twaddling is defined by Websters dictionary as someone who talks in a trivial, feeble, silly or tedious manner.

    This sounds like McCain to me. Therefore I dub him Twaddler McCain

    Twaddler McCain has a price and is for sale. One price for a flip, another for a flop.

    Obama on the other hand is always learning and the result of learning is often an attitude adjustment.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  21. David, Orlando, FL

    I guess he represents change we CAN’T believe in.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  22. Dee in Denver

    Why is it that Democrats flip-flop, but for Republicans, it is called a "policy reversal"? Whatever it is called, it shows flexibility, a quality that is welcome in handling these thorny situations that are rarely black and white. While most of Congress is acting like a bunch of stubborn, name-calling grade schoolers, Mr. Obama steps up and offers to discuss changing his position on offshore drilling in return for gains on alternative energy and related tax credits. That's not flip-flopping, it's leadership – something that is sorely missing in both Congress and the Executive Branch.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  23. David of Alexandria VA

    Because it is now the popular opinion needed for him to win.

    There is a mounting body of evidence that Obama appeals to the masses-de-jour. His shift way left to slay HIllary is matrched by his swing way center to defeat McCain.

    Who is this guy? Can I trust him to actually stand for something and see it through? Does he think this stuff through or just enough to grab the spotlight? If he's elected and no longer "at risk," what actual policies will he push? Would we get what we elected?

    This is very, very troubling.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  24. Ron Mechanicsville, VA

    I'm with him, If you tax Big Oil then I can see limited off shore drilling. But Big Oil needs to Pay taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  25. Fred

    So did McCain but he did it a bit sooner and I think he is more likely to really push for it.
    Isn't it funny how many of the democrats tell you it will have no effect for years yet after Bush lifted the presidential moratorium oil prices dropped and they dropped again after both candidates indicated they would or at least might support us getting our own oil.
    Oh well, Nancy is not going to allow a vote on it so the enviro nazis don't have to worry they can continue to cripple our economy and force us to keep giving billions of dollars to our enemies.
    With luck, the republicans will capitalize on this issue and keep the democrats from taking the huge majority everyone is predicting they will.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  26. Jackie in Dallas

    I think he has done it because the voters are yelling about it. However, I think that oil companies should only get the opportunity to drill off-shore after they have made more of an effort to get production from their already thousands of acres of leases that they haven't even explored yet. And, I must admit, I'd prefer that they not drill in the reef areas that are already threatened by pollution and which are essential to our fishing industry.

    The Republicans are going to keep pushing it, making it a cornerstone of their platform, when even village idiots know that it would take at least 10 years for wells to start producing. By saying that he is cautiously in favor of exploring the possibilities, he short-circuits their main "issue". However, the real push should be in already explored areas, alternate sources, and better refinery methods, plus building more of them.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  27. AL from Torrance CA

    Because the polls are telling him too. Obama seem to about saying anything to appease the popular viewpoint, One thing about Obama is for sure, apparently he will do anything and say anything to become president.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  28. kay

    Yes he is flip flopping and will continue thru November.He will say and do anything to get elected.The windfall profits tax sounds good but will only raise the price of gas (been there and done that in the 80's).

    August 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  29. sarah, indiana

    because jack, he wants to get votes. just good old fashioned politics as usual. so much for the fabled change he keeps bleating about.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  30. Peter Fairview, Texas

    Jack 70 percent of Americans want oil drilling of the coast of America. McCain wants oil drilling off the coast of America also. If Obama stuck with his original plan he would become, A man without a country to vote for him". Simple mathematics.
    The old way of doing things no longer works. Spending our hard earned dollars overseas on foreign oil to fund every other country's economy when we could be spending it right here at home until all of our oil is gone is a much better choice.
    If we have oil in the ground here and everyone else's oil runs out then what will they do? They will come for ours. "Drill em while ya got em"!!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  31. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Have we already forgotten the words by Tim Russert about changing one's mind as a strength at times? Obama is astutely aware that it takes compromise and listening to the American people, who support some offshore tapping of oil.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  32. Jenna Wade

    Why has Barack Obama changed his tune when it comes to offshore drilling?

    Only to appeal to moderate Republicans.

    His plan to give Americans $1000 to offset higher energy costs is actually a better plan than to give a tax "holiday" which will result in more lost jobs in the US.

    Jack, let's drill off Cape Cod and Kennebuckport ME. Do you think that the Republicans will go for that? I think we'll be hearing a different tune then.

    Jenna Wade
    Roseville CA

    August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  33. Jed in Redding, CA

    I don't think he really has. He made it very clear in his little speech today that he firmly believes that offshore drilling will do little to nothing to alleviate our pain at the pump. But being the pragmatist that he is, he will accept a limited amount of environmentally sound offshore drilling if that is what it takes to pass a larger, more comprehensive energy bill that provides substantial incentives to those who provide cheaper, cleaner energy alternatives.

    On a side note, Jack: It's questions like this that help conservatives frame Barack Obama as a flip flopper when John McCain's position on a plethora of issues changes every other day (and sometimes, every other sentence.) When are you going to ask us about that?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  34. Esther Marie Cuyahoga Falls OhiO

    Jack
    How long have we been having a problem with oil? no one ever going to fix it in our life and we all just might as well stop whining about it

    August 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  35. Allan Hanson Cameron Park Ca.

    To win, he needs all the voters he can get and Americans finally see the light and are for it.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  36. Bruce St Paul MN

    Offshore drilling is the typical Republican red herring. A non-issue to make a big deal about. It won't bring gas prices down, and if oil companies wanted to drill for oil, they could already be doing just that. The obvious strategy is to use the economic climate to gain a political benefit for the oil industry, creating a wedge issue along the way. Cynical and self-serving, the Republican way. Since 1981, they haven't done anything that benefits anyone but their wealthy benefactors. Obama is fudging on this issue in order to keep them from drowning out any discussion about real energy policy. My question to you is, if the GOP has shown total disdain and contempt for 99 percent of us for 28 years, why do we even listen to what they say?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  37. Ryan in Champaign, IL

    The lack of honest information about the costs and benefits of drilling getting onto the air-waves has caused the public to unwittingly support this ridiculous measure. If Obama fights it, he's seen as out-of-touch with voters.

    Between republicans whining and shilling for the oil industry, and news agencies muddying the waters when it comes to informing the public, it's hard to fight this tide of hysteria.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  38. Howard M, Bolingbrook IL

    Jack, I wouldn't call this a flip/flop. What I see is something we haven't seen at all in the last eight years. A person who would be president who is willing to listen to the American peoples wants and desires.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  39. Charles, Lansing, MI

    I don't call it a flip flop when Obama says he is willing to support a compromise that provides for alternative energy. I do call it a flip flop when McCain decides to support off shore drilling in order to get campaign funds from the oil companies.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  40. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Because he's a politician. It's what they do. He's no different than the rest of the lot.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  41. Rosalynd Florida

    Give me a break Jack! He has not changed his mind but has indicated he is open to the idea if it will be part of a greater overall energy strategy. The media's use of the McCain campaign's talking points is annoying not to mention it does a huge desservice to this country which is struggling to get its footing back.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  42. Kerry Diehl

    I don't think this will be viewed a "flip-flop" as much as that he is paying attention to popular opinion instead of sticking with a party line.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  43. Tom, The Heart of Democracy, Avon, Maine

    When the media does a sound bite out of any policy it misrepresents a candidates actual position. Clarification for the public is inevitably another sound bite rather than a comprehensive explanation. We need more Fareed Zakaria and fewer sound bites.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  44. Jason, Koloa, HI

    It's pretty obvious that he is trying to reach out to the Gas & Oil Party representatives in Congress who refuse to cooperate until they get what their oil masters demand. Obama recognizes the rock bottom public opinion poll's of congress and is making an effort to compromise. The republican reaction show's that they do not care about achieving any compromise that would benefit the american people. They only want to retain power at all cost and will relentlessly attack no matter what Obama says.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  45. Erin in Kalamazoo

    He hasn't changed his tune at all. I don't understand why the American public is so two dimensional in their thinking–either one IS or ISN"T for something.

    Obama very clearly explained that he would be prepared to compromise in order to break congressional gridlock. How absolutely refreshing it is to have an honest, intelligent and pragmatic candidate running for our nation's highest office.

    McCain's response this morning..."Obama says we should all put air in our tires (tee-hee)" Oh grow up. It is mind-boggling that a Senator decades younger than McCain can show so much more presidential maturity.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  46. Candy West Virginia

    This is the first time I am hearing that. I heard that he wants to open up our oil reserves which makes sense. But I trust his judgement so I am behind whatever he thinks should be done because unlike Mcsurge, Barack actually cares for Americans and is working very hard for us.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  47. John in Atlanta

    I don't think that he has, Jack. He is in favor of drilling in the approved areas, which he's stated, he's also said that his is not so rigid that he can't hear the American people. He's also pleased that there is a caveat in the proposed bill that makes it possible for alternative fuels to be produced. Doesn't sound like a flip flop to me. No matter what McCain says....

    August 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  48. Dan, Maryland

    Jack, it's a brilliant thing really, Obama hasn't changed his tune so much as dialed it in. He has left options on the table for slight reversals and compromises on issues from Iraq, to energy. The founding fathers always wanted compromise. It's just surprising because typically a compromise comes from two partisan views instead of one individual. Compromise Jack, it's a beautiful thing.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  49. AVEE from Richmond,VA

    He hasn't changed his position. Just a will to compromise to stop the same ole politics as usual. If more politicians were willing to compromise for the will of the people and not just their party, more things would get done in Washington. Current administration excluded.
    Hey, ask McCain if it's a Flip-Flop!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  50. Major Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Obama is practicing practical politics and is being cautious instead of carless. Obama doesn't want to throw away the old bucket until he knows whether the new one holds water. Maybe he is just indecisive; now I'm not sure.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  51. Monty Squier

    This is news to me.
    When did he change his tune?
    What key is he in now?
    Obama may soon overtake John McChamelon in the number of flip-flops on issues.
    It makes me wonder who is the more stable and reliable candidate?
    Where are you bullet-ducking Hillary Clinton?

    El Paso, TX

    August 4, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  52. Joe St Louis, MO

    Because it will get votes.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  53. Valerie

    Jack
    Why does everything have to be a flip flop? Let's instead call it democracy, bipartisanship, and the thing called working together for the benefit of the whole nation you know it's called COMPROMISE . The proposal by the gang of 10 is the brightest and most intelligent compromise this nation has seen in a long time and Obama is getting in that line. Good move Obama.
    Val

    August 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  54. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,did you ever notice that everytime Obama flip-flops,he prefaces with "I've said along".You know,I've said all along I wouldn't disown my Pastor,I've said all along I might not use public campaign financing,I've said all along I wouldn't disown my church family,I've said all along Jeruselem needs to stay in tact,I've said all along I might go for off shore drilling.Do you notice a pattern?I've said all along,Obama is just another politician pandering to whatever is politically expeident!!!!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  55. Helen

    As far as I am concerned, Obama is applying for a job with the american people. If 73% of us support offshore drilling, 75% wants us out of Iraq, as an employee of the american people it is Obama's job to come up with new strategy to help us, not lobbysts. That is call working for the american people, if you want to call it flip flop so be it.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  56. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    there are flip flop's and their are compromises in the name of Democracy. This compromise is only as part of a bigger comprehensive plan for alternative energy. This shows that Senator Obama checked his EGO at the door and is willing to compromise for the best deal for the Voters, unlike the "my way or the highway" attitude of the Bush Administration.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  57. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    I agree with Obamas approach on off shore drilling, let the oil companies explore the territory that is still available to them that they have not touched yet. We should be developing alternative sources of energy, oil is not the answer for us.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  58. kenneth sibbett

    Senator Obama is showimg what a great president he would be by crossing the isle and working and compromising with the other side. As Tim Russart said "if you change your mind, just say so and quit playing politics".

    Kenneth Chadbourn, N,C.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  59. U M Win

    Yes, "change" means this.He always change his position depends upon opportunity. Hollow words like "tearing down all the walls (Berlin speech)" and practically 'change' upon opportunity ,like an iguana's color change. I respect to Bush since he does what he believes. Obama will be worse than Bush. I do hope America sholud not be suffered again by Obama due to some crazy people who adored him like a Saint.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  60. John Kriton

    A little too late for buyer's remorse now eh? If the majority of voters wanted the U.S. to burn the Amazon to ashes to relieve economic hardships, would Obama support that?

    It doesn't matter in the end anyway. The so-called leaders of this country will do whatever they want to, regardless of public opinion. Can you say George W. Bush?

    Politicians are liars who will do anything for a vote. Plain and simple.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  61. Cathy

    I think it's important for the leader of this country be willing to compromise to get something accomplished. Without comprise...we would have constant gridlock.

    If McCain would compromise on his "no" healthcare plan, view on staying in Iraq until "supposed victory", insistent on his repeal of Roe v. Wade and no equal pay for women...McCain might be more favorable to me and many others out there. But McCain doesn't compromise and refuses to consider any other view except his. McCain is just like Bush and we don't need another bully in the White House.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  62. Denise - Oklahoma City

    Jack, why is it called "flip-flop" when you want to consider all aspects of a position to better this country? It proves to me Sen Obama is open to compromise for the better good. At least HE has a plan.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  63. H

    I love the dems on here praising Obama for flip flopping when they criticized McCain for doing the same. It is hilarious to see people so blind to their own biases.

    Get over it people. Left, right, Republican or Democat, all politicians will lie, cheat, and steal to get votes. That's how the game is played. You think a Dem does something that Republicans don't or vice versa, you are just blind. They are all corrput, all liars, and all manipulate words. Just vote for the one you feel most comfortable with and don't criticize the other because they are all doing it.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  64. Pam

    Jack,
    I'm disappointed in this question, Jack.
    Thinking individuals, and hopefully, thinking politicians, read, listen, and discuss information and ideas, in order to incorporate the new into what was already known. As a result, ideas and positions that are truly open and alive, are somewhat fluid.
    Please, God, protect this country from another 4 years of a politician who never "changes tune"!
    Pam, in Boston

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  65. Will in Richmond VA

    Setting conditions, refining and enhancing ones positions isn't necessarily flip-flopping. However, Obama needs to be careful that he doesn't completely alienate his supporters on the left, not that I think many are going anywhere. He just has to make sure that he is properly explaining himself.

    Jack, I truly believe that anyone has the right to change their mind or position. Just as long as that person takes the time to acknowledge that they are in fact changing their mind and explain why.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  66. Lori

    Offshore drilling will be no benefit to the average Joe financially – until perhaps 2020, if ever. It will only eventually put more money in McCain's & Bush's already oil soaked back pockets while further damaging a continually declining eco-system. Exxon is currently making PROFITS of billions PER SECOND. Maybe it's time to tell our own oil companies to help out their fellow country members and take a slight cut in pay. Remember all that fuel we're pulling out of Alaska? It's being sold to Europe because there's more profits to be had than supplying the U.S..

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  67. Bob Williams

    Another John Kerry

    Patty cake reaction to the Neocon hate machine, take off the gloves and tell the world Grand Pa Monster works for big oil and as soon as he is elected George W. will begin to look, not so bad.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  68. Steve N.

    I guess when he says he is the candidate of change, he means he is the candidate who will change his opinion to whatever the latest polls indicate. He is the most dangerous kind of politician. One who will say whatever it takes to get elected. How can you trust a man like this? He is a follower not a leader!

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  69. Martin Carter

    This is not a flip-flop. Obama still thinks off-shore drilling is not the best way to solve the energy crisis we are in. He is simply using good judgment. The 2 parties are getting no where fast on the issue and so he understands that to help the American people, both sides need to compromise.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  70. James France

    Jack: This guy is going to tell people what they want to hear because it works. People in this country are sheep. Obama is trying as hard as he can to learn on the fly, not to help the country, but to gain the biggest prize.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  71. mary jane Barenbaum

    Jack,

    He is displaying common sense, not a stubborn streak like the big Bush.
    This whole situation is because the public can't conceive of really trying to change to alternate modes of energy. Americans are spoiled. Let's face it.
    They bounce from one candidate to the other depending on who keeps giving them their security blanket. McCain wins on that one.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  72. Katrina

    Obama has changed his stand on off shore drilling because he can only do what his advisers tell him. He never just answers a question off the cuff or shows outrage on a comment until he has had time for his speech writers have told him what to say. Look at the many people that were his friends and as soon as things got tough he threw them under the bus, drove over them, backed up and drove over them again.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  73. tony

    This shows he wants to work with other people and to look into alternative ideas even if he personally does not 100% agree with them. This is the job and this is just what a good poltician shoud do. This position though takes some courage to take, because the press immediately defines it as 'flip-flops', although making reasonable compromises is the only way to go forward in situations of multiple conflicting interests.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  74. Mark from Louisiana

    Obama has shown he'll say what he needs to get elected.....remember first his crazy preacher was his mentor, now due to public opinion he has kicked his mentor of 20 years to the curb........hopefully the republicans will have plenty of Wrights comments on their commercials this fall 🙂

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  75. Daniel

    Truth comes to light no matter WHO you are in politics. Obama made such efforts to convince us he was more an impassioned citizen running for office rather than just another politician. Even going so far as calling Hillary Clinton "more business as usual".

    In the end, he's no different than any other politician. Flip-flopping is the name of the game and he knows getting every vote he can means he has to "compromise on his position". That, in itself, describes EVERY politician. Suddenly buyer's remorse on Hillary doesn't seem like a bad thing.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  76. Rick

    I wish Sen. Obama, or you, Jack, or anyone that has the public's attention would focus on the fact that we have huge oil reserves ON SHORE in some of the western states in particular that are untapped. Why? Because the federal land leases are owned by people with interests in keeping the prices up – including one of the biggest holders of such leases – Morgan Stanley! Yes, a large investment company. This is why the current administration and McCain's people are diverting attention to the off-shore issue.The drilling could start in a very short amount of time vs the years it takes to start new production off-shore (not to mention the hurricanes that come along and do you know what to them). Please – expose the real story.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  77. nelson

    Obama is just using common sense. I think we all agree that we can open up drilling for more oil, BUT as I have said before in my comments, WE MUST have an alternative energy plan in the works: ASAP. We will probably always need oil for energy and plastics, but it can no longer be the dominant energy supply for this country.

    I don't believe he is changing his policy. Obama is just modifying it. We all modify now and then after we have time to look at both sides of the equation. Too bad when running for an office, you get one shot at a sound bite.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  78. Adam Brown

    It's obvious why he changed his position...polls show that most Americans approve of off-shore drilling. Whatever sounds good, right Barack?

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  79. Melody from Locke New York

    Hi Jack,

    Obama does what any intelligent human being does: He looks at the problem, weighs the pros and cons, then makes an informed decision that everyone can benefit from.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  80. Bill - North Carolina

    Would you rather have a president that is incapable of changing his mind? If so, we'll keep Bush another four years. God bless a president that is not so rigid that he or she can not listen to others. Personally, I don't think "flip-flopping" is necessarily a bad thing.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  81. Julia Dallas

    It's pretty simple. Politicians will say what it takes to get elected or what they think the public wants to hear.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  82. stephanie/houston

    Change! Real change is being Man enough To be Open to new ideas that you reconsider and mix with your own to bring about the Best change. To stand by what you said and not compromise for future improvement is More years of the Republican way of Doing things. People who Envy knowlege and Good judgement call it flip flop because they don't have the strength to change.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  83. Reggie

    Jack,

    I don't get it. We want our elected officials to work together, to be willing to compromise. Then when Obama says he is willing to compromise for the greater good we accuse him of flip flopping? Which one is it do we want compromise or hard line party stances?

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  84. denise

    Barack is darned if he does or if he doesn't everything he says and does is a probkem. What a shame no one is oaying attention to
    Mccain who if elected will lead us into war after war . Then drive what's left of us into the poor house.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  85. JP in CT

    Jack, are you naive? He's changed his opinion on everything else. Why wouldn't he change it on offshore drilling?

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  86. Felix

    I think he is just a pragmatist not idealist. Sometimes you have to give in to the little things to accomplish bigger things.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  87. Glen, Columbus Ohio

    It seems obvious that he is seeing the polling data for this matter. The fact is most Americans support this move and he cannot ignore this fact. Seems like Obama's shift to the center is continuing. We still don't know enough about his positions on many matters, including this one.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  88. Colin

    One of the things I found refreshing about Obama is his honesty when it comes to policy.

    When Clinton and McCain called for a "gas tax holiday", Obama sided with most economists when he called it political pandering.

    Obama's reversal on offshore drilling as a compromise might be acceptable depending on what the other side compromises, but if you throw in the tapping of the strategic oil reserve, then I have to start wondering whether or not Obama is succombing to the political forces he says he offers a change from.

    I really hope Obama isn't pandering.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  89. Akin from Dallas

    The gifted senator made a major mistake in opposing Mccain in June concerning Domestic Drilling. In the future the good Senator should judge the mood of the nation and also judge each case on its merits before opposing every issue that Mccain proposes.

    The good thing is that he has recognised the error and should not repeat such in the future...It would be extremely embarassing if such errors leads the country to repeat the mistake it made 8 years ago in electing George Bush to office and in the process lose one of the most brilliant leaders the country has produced

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  90. NJ Boricua

    The solutions provided by both candidates are weak and provide no long term alternative solution to oil that does not create unbalances like the use of food to produce energy has done to the price of staples.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  91. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    Why all the bad press on Obama? At least he has some ideas. This is not a flipflop, it's a realist re-evaluation and shows he's willing to think. McCain, on the other hand, sits there and takes stupid, mindless potshot and says NOTHING with any content. McCain is nothing but an extension of the odious Bush and his 8 rotten years.

    What policy ideas has McCain come out with lately? None? Thought so!

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  92. Tedd

    The Flip-Flop kid.

    Obama will say and do anything to get elected. Shame on him. What a joke he's become.

    Hillary is starting to look like she would have been the better candidate to go up against McCain this fall.

    I can't help but feel that we Dems are starting to feel some buyers' remorse with regard to Obama as our candidate.

    I don't like that last week he said he was for reparations for minorities. And, I certainly don't like that he's now willing to go the Drill-Drill-Drill route.

    Looks like I'll be voting for Ralph Nader !!!

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  93. Realkman

    The guy says he wants to be everybody's president so he tries to find a middle road to all the issues. He does not want offshore drilling, but as long as it is part of a comprehensive package to get things done in Washington, he is OK with it. Where is the flip-flop here? I love this guy more each day. He is not stubborn and he is not afraid of labels. He just wants to do the right thing. Meanwhile, the grumpy old man has just proved that he will be in the pockets of the oilmen, just like Bush.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  94. robert

    My take on this is that he is human. He is a man that is running for the most important job. He needs to bend a little if he wishes to get elected. Not many if any can stick to thier guns from the begining of a presidental race to the end. You have to compromise on some issues but then they say its a flip-flop.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  95. Greg Vernon

    Obama has changed his "tune" because he is unelectable with his "true" position.
    He's faltering in the polls and will say anything.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  96. rick

    so he's saying something to get him elected. the real issue is his party's power base in Washington (Pelosi, et al) are saying just the opposite – no no no to drilling. who do you really believe and who will win???

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  97. Randy

    Something a politician rarely does – he listens and is willing to collaborate on both sides of the aisle.

    Oil is a non renewable resourse. People of my generation have really taken advantage of our children. We toasted the planet and are well on our way to using all the oil. Babies born today will be forced to live in an oil free society before they die – it will be gone!

    Eventually we will pump it out – so why not now!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  98. Peggy Howard

    I think it is very hard to not flip flop or nearly flip flop on issues. Obama is a human and he will make a mistake or two. He is not God.
    Give him a break. Vote for the guy and go on.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  99. tri

    Hi Jack,
    We will always need forein oil. His 10 years plan to end that never work or any plan.
    tri .
    sa n jose.
    ca

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  100. Jen Davis

    I think we all know the politicians "leading" this country are all just a bunch of flip-floppers. When you're motivated by money and votes, it's easy to compromise your core values and positions. President Bush is my least favorite person on earth, but at least he comes right out and tells you he's going to screw you!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  101. Mike , CA

    Obama will float like a butterfly from on flip flop to the next.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  102. VJ

    It is elementary Mr Cafferty – Politics just as always , politics just as usual !!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  103. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    Should my comment make it to through the Mderation...Finally I would also like to add that Senator Obama is about change. The measure of a REAL Man is his ability to recognize a better way based on really wanting a solution and not just saying what he thinks the people want to hear. I cannot fathom McCain even understanding what it is like for most Americans with his party being the reason for all the issues we now face. GREED at the expense of the american working class. DEREGULATION the seed planted is why we are reaping this harvest today!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  104. Lynn - SD County CA

    We've just seen the result of putting a President in office who does not know the meaning of negotiations, of give and take for the greater good – Nothing should be off the table when it comes to removing this country from foreign oil dependency, I see Obama waving the carrot of off-shore drilling but ONLY AFTER the full meal and cost of alternative energy has been agreed upon.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  105. Bob

    The argument against drilling seems to be that we should have started 10 years ago. That's not a compelling argument.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  106. Brian

    Rod For Chicago, if you are going to plagiarize, try not to use an article from CNN.com.

    I don't think anybody flip-flops. These candidates are molding their platforms for what will be best for the nation. Before, they were senators for a specific constituency. Now, they need to speak and act for an entire nation. Some of the comments I read are critical of one side and accepting of the other. You can't have it both ways. Either they both are flip-flops or they both are not.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  107. Ken from Iowa

    I wouldn't say flop-flop. I'd say exactly what Obama said. It's a compromise. McCain should be familar with compromises. He's done so many over the years that it's hard to tell where he stands on anything.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  108. DOC from GA.

    Where does this "it will take 10 years for offshore drilling" stuff come from?
    I just got though watching oil executives say "as little as two years".
    The 10 years has been thrown out by drilling oponets, not by the oil industry.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  109. Brian in Laguna Beach

    Obama is wise enought ot know that the coastal states affected will attempt to block this anyway, and failing that tie it up in litigation for so long as to make it a mute issue.....

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  110. Charles

    Why?

    Obama's running to the right as fast as he can...

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  111. nocom

    A wasted question, because supporters from both sides will find whatever reason to defend their candidates. Like for Obama, is this exactly part of his Change theme?:)

    August 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  112. Eddie for High Point NC

    I know this is difficult for the politicans and the political pundants in news to understand but perhaps the man understands that he running for a office that does the will of the people and when you have 70% of the American people saying they are for drilling and the majority of Americans saying that high fuel cost are a burden it can be shocking when a politican does the will of the pople and places the needs of the people before his parties idealogy or his own opinion

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  113. Doug, New Jersey

    This is very scary. You can see that the Obamaites will go along and support anything this man does, they may be against something their whole life but if Obama is for it then they change right along with him and support what they were against 100%.

    We have never seen people in this nation as controlled by a politician in our 232 year history as we see right now with these Obama-bots.

    We always like to joke about the other side being Nazis in America but this time around it is not a joke. Obama could do anything and his puppets would wag their tail for him. I have never seen my fellow Countrymen like this, they are truly one in the same as those in Germany in the early 1930's. Study your history and then read the posts on the net from the Obama-bots, it is true that history repeats itself and what was in Germany then seems to be coming to America now. God help us.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  114. Dave in Illinois

    Jack, Can you spell Politician? Obama is becoming an expert at reacting to the polls. He's learned his lession and is ready to throw people and platform planks under the bus as required.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  115. Jim Zagata

    Change-Change

    Because he is truly a loser who has done nothing noteworty than be a celebrity.

    He is NOT what America needs now

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  116. Marty, Houston, TX

    What I want to know is where will Obama get the $65 billion required to pay for the $1,000 checks to the "working" class families for relief at the pump. Last time I checked, Exxonmobile, the largest of the oil companies made over a staggering $12 billion in profits with Shell Oil and Chevron a few $billion behind. Even if you take every last dollar of profit from the top 5 major oil companies, it wouldn't come close to $65 billion. That's a lot of money jack! I don't see where Obama plans to get all of this money he's talking about. Obama, are you smarter than a 5th grader? Clearly math isn't one of your best subjects.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  117. Susan M. from NY

    I am glad that Obama has changed his mind and is willing to consider every avenue to combat the energy problem. We definitely need a multi-pronged solution. I just wonder why, when he formerly opposed the idea, he insinuated that his opponent was "pandering" to the electorate by supporting more drilling.
    There is nothing wrong in changing your mind about an issue, after due reflection...but Obama needs to tone down his "holier than thou" attitude.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  118. Peggy Howard

    Sundance, Wyoming

    With all the talking they have to do, all the reasoning on issues, it would be very hard not to make a mistake, or want to retrack something you said.
    Give him a Break, he will be the next President of the US!!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  119. Richard

    He flopped and flipped. Because Americans are too stupid and uninformed to see offshore drilling is a scam for the oil companies to rake us some more. Their is never an excuse for putting our food supply at risk. Gas didn't go up the dollar went down. It is the falling dollar combined with the Iraq war causing high gas prices. How many mpg does a tank get.
    Industrialized Hemp is the answer to our fuel problems. Better than sugar cane and grows from coast to coast. Too bad the Oil Companies had it made illegal in the 30's by influence of Congress.
    Just like they do now Jack

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  120. Sandra

    Obama is compromising with the voter with a very well thought out answer. It is clear to him what makes sense for the environment, what the voters want, what the voting public needs and what the "powerhouses" (oil companies and corporations that are currently running the country) want.

    Obama is making it crystal clear that he is willling to work at coming up with a solution that helps the public's immediate needs (economic crisis for many) and what makes sense for our future . Whether we like it or not, we need a leader that will lead us into a healthy future.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  121. Fish, MN

    Because it makes more sense to him now than before, but it's not flip-flop. People change their mind when the reality changes; we can't assume every condition to be the same all the time. GOP's shall give it up; this word just doesn't stick.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  122. Jim from Iowa

    There's a line in the movie "The American President" where the president says something to the effect that politics is about compromise. That's the case here. One has to be willing to compromise to get what one wants, or even part of it. Mr. Obama is such a man–he is an astute statesman who understands he must at times be willing to yield. Unfortunately that doesn't often seem to be the case with our country's present chief executive.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  123. Ed from Washingotn

    At the beginning of the campaign, many of us took Obama at his word about change. What we didn't understand is that he meant he would stick a wet finger in the air every weekend and change with the wind.

    Obama went from Kennedyesque to becoming just another teweedle dee politician. So sad.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  124. Fred from Va.

    Wake up folks – you all are arguing about what Barack said versus what he didn't say. Let's face it – he's running for public office and he'll say whatever he thinks you want to hear. Now if you want to vote for Marxist who has attended a church that promotes liberation theology for the past 20 years, that's your perogative. I am an American first, and ther is no way in the world that I'll be voting a communist into the highest office in the country. Wake up before it's too late!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  125. Nancy, Orlando, FL

    I don't understand why a candidate can't change his mind in the face of additional information or changing circumstances.

    This entire flap over "flip flopping" is just silly to me.
    No successful person says, "I never will ____".
    The most successful folks are the most fantastically adaptive.

    I would rather vote for someone who can think and analyze than someone who settles to parrot a party line they don't even believe.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  126. Jack in Lombard IL

    Duh! Any politicians first job is to get elected... c'mon Jack !!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  127. shawn

    The key consideration is what changed between his differing positions. If there was a disaster or bona fide reason for policy change great – change your mind that's fine. In this case though, the only thing that has seemed to change was his lead in the polls, so he changed his position to be more popular. When McCain changed his mind, I believe it was part of a thought out plan as opposed to a simple reaction to public opinion. Say no to BOOB (Barrack Obama in O8), vote McCain.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  128. John

    Obama has flip-flopped many times.

    People say that he may be only "human," but I see it as political manipulation. Obama has always been against off-shore drilling, and after the new CNN poll showed that most people favored off-shore drilling, Obama now thinks that its okay to do it.

    Also, Obama was strongly against having the full FL and MI delegates seated; now that Hillary is out of the picture, he thinks it might "unify" the party. This is why I am a democrat voting for Mccain.

    John Goodman

    Los Angeles, CA

    August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  129. mjoelettegreen

    Senator Obama wants to be president of the United States. He has been watching the polls and sees that his numbers are slipping and recent polls indicate that most Americans are for offshore drilling as a short-term solution to lowering gas prices at the pump. He is beginning to demonstrate that the change rhetoric he has been spewing is just that 'rhetoric' and he is a standard poitician willing to run and engage in business as usual.

    Buffalo, NY

    August 4, 2008 at 5:41 pm |