Oil Prices May Be A Presidential Campaign Issue

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

Washington (CNSNews.com) - Citing what he said was "the failure of the Clinton-Gore administration to come up with an energy policy," Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) told CNSNews.com that he expects the escalating price of oil and gas to be a factor in the upcoming presidential race between the presumptive candidates, Republican Texas Governor George W Bush and Democratic Vice President Al Gore.

Murkowski, who is sponsoring legislation to allow more oil exploration on the Arctic coastal plane, said that he discussed the fuel situation, which now has oil priced at over $34 per barrel and gasoline approaching two dollars a gallon, with Bush before he became the apparent Republican presidential nominee after his win in several state primaries on Super Tuesday.

"I discussed it with Governor Bush in Austin," Murkowski told CNSNews.com. "He feels that we should strive to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

Murkowski and fellow Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens are co-sponsoring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) bill, which would authorize "environmentally responsive oil development on a small part of the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain" in northern Alaska.

Both Stevens and Murkowski lambasted Gore for supporting a 4.3 cent gas tax in 1993, and both senators called for the immediate, temporary repeal of the tax until the end of the year as a first step in giving Americans some relief from high fuel costs.

Murkowski said that, if the price of gas continues to rise through the summer and into next fall, voters will definitely make it an issue in the presidential election.

"When it costs $100 to fill up an SUV, it will definitely be an election item," Murkowski told CNSNews.com.