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Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan August 23, 2007

McCain has come around to favor ethanol

On ethanol, McCain has maintained a long-standing opposition to subsidies for the alternative fuel and that hasn't changed. But the way he talks about ethanol has changed significantly. In 1999, he told an audience in Iowa, where corn-based ethanol is popular: "I'm here to tell you the things you don't want to hear as well as the things you want to hear. One of those things is ethanol. Ethanol is not worth it. It does not help the consumers. … Those ethanol subsidies should be phased out. And everybody here on this stage, if it wasn't for the fact that Iowa is the first caucus state, would share my view that we don't need ethanol subsidies."

In 2007, McCain started to speak more favorably of ethanol and admitted it was a position change. He told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press": "It makes a lot of sense. We are dependent on foreign oil too much. We have a situation where greenhouse gases has now become--emissions has become a vital issue. I am for sugarcane, biofuels, switch grass, and corn-based ethanol because of our need for independence on foreign oil. … I have adjusted to the realities of the world we live in today, and if I don't adjust to those realities, then I would be stuck in the past."

Featured Fact-check

That's a significant change in opinion on the biofuel. We found the statement that McCain used to oppose ethanol but now supports it to be Mostly True.

Our Sources

Des Moines Register, May 30, 1999. "Candidates formulate policies; Some support farm subsidies and tax breaks for ethanol, others oppose those measures." By Claflin Blair; The Associated Press, December 13, 1999, "Highlights from Monday's debate between GOP presidential hopefuls"; NBC News Transcripts, May 13, 2007, Meet the Press, "Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona discusses his candidacy for president in 2008, Iraq, and other issues"

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McCain has come around to favor ethanol

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