From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
LAS VEGAS, NV -- While wrapping up the west coast swing of his two-week energy tour, McCain gave something of a closing argument today, summarizing the proposals of the last 10 days and giving them a new name: "The Lexington Project."
"In recent days, I have set before the American people an energy plan, the Lexington -- the Lexington Project, the Lexington Project -- remember that name," McCain said. "Named for the town where Americans asserted their independence once before. And let it begin today with this commitment: In a world of hostile and unstable suppliers of oil, this nation will achieve strategic independence by the year 2025."
According to McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers, "strategic independence" is when "oil is no longer the primary fuel for transportation, and when the oil cartel no longer has the ability to undermine our economy or the paychecks of the American worker."
The parts of this project as outlined during this tour are at least seven fold. Since last Monday, McCain has proposed lifting the moratorium on offshore oil exploration; putting the country on a path to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030; cracking down on speculation in the oil futures market; committing $2 billion dollars per year to clean coal research; a $300 million prize for the first company that can create a zero-emissions automobile battery; and a $5,000 consumer tax credit for the purchase of any zero-emissions vehicles. All of this is in addition to the cap-and-trade system he has proposed as a senator.
McCain mostly avoided criticizing his opponent this morning, only lashing out at "opponents of domestic production" -- a label he has previously said applies to Obama.
"Opponents of domestic production cling to their position, even as the price of foreign oil has doubled and doubled again," he said. "They were against it when a gallon of gas cost $2. They're still against it when a gallon of gas cost well over $4. And we're left to wonder what it will take to shake their faith in this dogma of dependence on foreign oil."
But the McCain campaign was not so shy this morning during one of their oh-so-common conference calls, during which Sen. Jon Kyl referred to Obama as "Dr. No" and said Obama has opposed numerous proposals to confront the energy crisis.
"It's a very negative approach that basically says there are no answers to the hurt Americans are suffering right now," Kyl said.
*** UPDATE *** Here's the response from the DNC: "Apparently John McCain's idea of 'straight talk' means not talking at all about his plan to bring more nuclear waste but fewer jobs to Nevada. During his 25 years in Congress, Sen. McCain has been a part of America's energy problem by repeatedly voting against the kind of incentives that would create green jobs in Nevada and communities across the country. America's working families deserve new energy ideas, not more of the same failed policies that have cost us jobs, driven energy prices through the roof, and done nothing to make America less dependent on foreign oil."