Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says behind ending the war in Iraq, the second national security priority of the next president must be reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Biden had intended to hold a news conference this morning at a gas station to discuss energy policy, but due to the misty weather he stood inside his Des Moines campaign headquarters in front of two clumps of corn stalks, surrounded by a bunch of Biden for President campaign signs.
"In order to restore our place in the world, the U.S. must become an energy and environmental leader," Biden said. "We’ve essentially in the last 10 years abdicated that responsibility, quite frankly." Biden argues the U.S. is vulnerable because it is paying billions to oil-producing countries and much of that is fueling foreign "regimes" that aren’t friendly and even "fueling the fundamentalism" we’re fighting.
"And we’re going to need a nationwide comprehensive energy and climate change/national security policy that makes innovation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies a priority," Biden said. Biden promises as president he would embark on a $50 billion, "Apollo-like" program that would include helping the nation’s auto industry retool to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. "A massive, economy-wide project of transforming — and that’s the only word I can think of — of transforming America into a source of the world’s energy future as opposed to the biggest consumer and the greatest dependent nation," Biden said.
Today, by the way, is Biden’s 65th birthday.