Obama says he would impose oil windfall profits tax

RALEIGH, North Carolina Mon Jun 9, 2008 1:35pm EDT

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama steps out of his car to board his plane in Blountville, Tennessee, June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama steps out of his car to board his plane in Blountville, Tennessee, June 5, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday he would impose a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies as he sought political gain from Americans' pain over high gasoline prices.

Launching a two-week focus on the economy after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama drew a sharp contrast between his economic policies and those of John McCain, his Republican rival in the November election.

"I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills," the Illinois senator said.

Obama charged that McCain's support for extending President George W. Bush's tax cuts means he is in favor of $2 trillion in corporate tax breaks, including $1.2 billion for Exxon Mobil Corp.

"If John McCain's policies were implemented, they would add $5.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. That isn't fiscal conservatism, that's what George Bush has done over the last eight years," Obama said.