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Obama urges use of oil reserve to lower gasoline price
Updated: 2008-08-05 09:07

WASHINGTON -- US  Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would join his party fellows in calling on Monday for tapping the country's strategic oil reserve to pull down the growing gasoline prices, his campaign said.

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) delivers a speech during the 2008 National Urban League annual conference in Orlando, Florida Aug. 2, 2008. [Xinhua]

The Illinois Senator planned to propose during a campaign in Michigan that the government should sell 70 million barrels of oil from the stockpile to help reduce oil prices.

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"Breaking our oil addiction is one of the greatest challenges our generation will ever face. It will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy," he said in a prepared speech. "This transformation will be costly, and given the fiscal disaster we will inherit from the last administration, it will likely require us to defer some other priorities."

Obama has opposed to tapping the oil reserve in the past, but his campaign spokeswoman Heather Zichal said the candidate has reconsidered and recognized that "Americans are suffering."

His campaign also said that the candidate supported releasing light oil from the emergency oil stockpile now for a short-term relief and replacing it later with heavier crude more suited to the country's long-term needs.

In a new TV ads Obama released on Monday, he linked his Republican presidential rival John McCain to President George W. Bush, who has once worked in the oil industry.

"After one president in the pocket of big oil we can't afford another," says the new ad.

A total of 707.2 million barrels was stocked as the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Texas and Louisiana.

Despite pressure from Democrats, Republicans and the White House opposed to use the reserves, saying they need to be left intact as an emergency stockpile.