From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Hillary Clinton defended her plan for a gas tax holiday, saying it would have a larger impact on the nation's economy than just the immediate savings for drivers.
Clinton toured a family owned furniture manufacturer in Indiana's largest city to illustrate that the high cost of fuel has a significant impact on small businesses, as well as truckers who move the products made here. She claimed the company had seen orders canceled because customers were unwilling to pay fuel surcharges on shipping.
"You've gotta bring those logs in; you've gotta send the finished products out," she said. "And the costs are sent down the supply chain, from the factory floor to the corner store."
The New York senator highlighted new oil company profit figures as evidence her proposed windfall profits tax was the answer.
"The oil companies have figured out a way to keep profiting no matter what else happens," she said. "Over the last three months, while you were being pummeled by high gas prices, Shell's profits rose by 25 percent, and BP's by 63 percent. So the oil companies are doing very well, and it's high time that they helped to relieve the burden of high gas prices on our families and our businesses."
The Obama campaign has said Clinton's plan would have a minimal impact, a charge Clinton pushed back on while suggesting he was ignoring the impact to rural areas.
"There are a lot of people in Indiana who would really benefit from a gas tax holiday," she said. "That may not mean much to my opponent, but it means a lot to people who are struggling here, people who commute long distances to work: farmers and truckers, who are in the business of driving a lot of vehicles over a lot of miles."
And she again hit Obama for voting in favor of what she calls "Dick Cheney's energy bill."
"My opponent talks a lot about standing up to big oil," Clinton said, "but when the time came to take action, he voted for the bill that gave billions of dollars in tax breaks to the oil companies, and I voted against it. I didn't think they needed any more of your money to make a profit."
She also targeted McCain, who also proposes a tax holiday, but she said he does not compensate for funds dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund. (That's a point the McCain campaign has contested.) "Sen. Obama won't provide relief, while McCain won't pay for it," she said. "And I'm the only candidate that would provide immediate relief at the pump with a plan to make it happen, turning talk into action."