Gore Campaigns Near Capitol as Truckers Protest Oil Prices

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

Washington (CNSNews.com) - While Vice President Al Gore delivered a campaign speech to members of the Amalgamated Transit Union gathered near the US Capitol on Thursday, truckers parked their rigs on Capitol Hill to protest rising fuel costs that threaten their livelihoods.

"The government needs to do whatever needs to be done to decrease the price of fuel," independent trucker Marcie Barnett of Whitehaven, PA, told CNSNews.com.

Barnett, who said increased diesel costs over the last year have eliminated her profit margin, is especially upset with Gore's tie-breaking vote in the Senate in 1993 that imposed a 4.3 cent-per-gallon gas tax.

"That cost him my vote in the coming presidential election," said Barnett.

Gore cast the vote in his Constitutional role as President of the Senate, which calls for the vice-president to only vote in the Senate to break deadlocks. The 1993 Senate was controlled by the Democrats, while the current Senate is led by Republicans, many of whom have proposed that the tax now be repealed to help ease fuel costs. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has dubbed it "the Gore gas tax."

Many other businesses besides trucking also are beginning to feel the fuel crunch, said Richard Barber, a brickmason from Atlantic City, NJ, who came to the Capitol with some trucker friends.

"The cost of fuel is effecting me greatly," Barber told CNSNews.com.

In his speech to the ATU, which was one of the first unions to endorse his presidential bid, Gore called for more investment in mass transit as one way of easing US dependence on foreign oil, but he failed to mention the truckers' plight.

ATU general counsel Robert Molopsky told CNSNews.com that he doesn't believe rising fuel costs will be the deciding factor in the coming presidential election.

"I don't think that this election is going to be decided by the price of gasoline," said Molopsky.

Washington, DC, bus driver Moses Baker said rising fuel costs effects everybody - Democrat as well as Republican.

"If it is an election issue, it will effect Bush as well as Gore," said Baker. "Bush is from Texas."