Cantor to Obama: Tell Pelosi to Bring Congress Back

By John Santucci

Aug 4, 2008 11:12am

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and John Santucci Report: A Virginia congressman who is reported to be under consideration to be Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., running mate urged Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on Monday to pressure the Democratic leadership of Congress to take action on off-shore drilling. "If Barack Obama is serious about trying to fix this problem," said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., "the first thing he should do is pick up the phone and call Speaker Pelosi and tell her to bring Congress back so that we can begin a process of getting an off-shore drilling bill across the floor of the House." Cantor’s effort to pressure Obama on Pelosi and off-shore drilling comes in the wake of the presumptive Democratic nominee softening his opposition to off-shore drilling. Obama told a Florida newspaper on Friday that he does not see off-shore drilling as a solution to the U.S. energy crunch while saying that he would go along with expanded off-shore drilling if it were necessary to win a broader policy overhaul focused on renewable sources of energy. Asked Sunday on ABC News’ "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" why the House Democratic leadership won’t allow an up or down vote on the issue of drilling, Pelosi accused House Republicans of doing the bidding of Big Oil.  “We have a debate every single day on this subject,” said Pelosi, calling the GOP protest “the war dance of the handmaidens of the oil companies.” The Associated Press reported on Saturday that McCain’s campaign has asked Cantor, who serves as chief deputy Republican whip in the House, for personal documents to aid in the search for a running mate. During Monday’s McCain campaign conference call with reporters, Cantor refused to discuss the vice-presidential selection process when he was asked about it by the author of Saturday’s Associated Press story. "Congratulations on being on the short list," the AP’s Bob Lewis told Cantor "would you care to comment any about your conversation with the senator over a possible choice." "No I wouldn’t," said Cantor, "this a press conference about the energy plan and the difference between the visions that Barack Obama has and John McCain." "Thank you, Bob. Thanks for trying," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers. Saturday’s Cantor story was sourced by the AP to an individual who "spoke on the condition of anonymity" because "neither the McCain campaign nor Cantor’s office" wanted to discuss the running mate selection process.

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