Obama gas pump ad hits snag

August 6, 2008 4:35:42 PM PDT
Democrat Barack Obama's plan to bring the debate over gas prices straight to the pumps hit a roadblock Wednesday. What sounded like a great way to reach a captive audience as they pumped $4-a-gallon gas into their car crashed and burned quickly when the company that sells spots on small, gas pump televisions rejected the idea.

Drivers upset by high fuel costs would have seen an ad saying Republican John McCain voted against alternative energy and higher mileage standards as gas prices soared. As the dollars continued adding up on the pump, drivers would have then heard that Obama would give them a $1,000 energy rebate and make energy independence a priority.

But just as the campaign announced the ads were ready to roll in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, Gas Station TV decided to reject them.

The Michigan-based company's CEO, David Leider, said the company was considering running campaign ads on the mini-televisions, but decided Wednesday that wouldn't be such a good idea. That's the same day he saw Obama's ad, which says the candidate will seek policies that lower gas consumption.

Leider, though, said the decision had nothing to do with the ad's message.

"We avoid politics in general," he said.

But the Obama campaign said the company gave a different reason for rejecting the ad: It was too damaging to the oil industry.

"It looks like Gas Station TV doesn't want the American people to know about Senator Obama's plan to offer working families a $1,000 energy rebate that would be funded by a tax on oil company profits" said Mark Bubriski, Obama's Florida spokesman.