By LIZ SIDOTI
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 22, 2007; 7:03 PM
WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is calling the United States' foreign-oil reliance and global warming twin threats the country must aggressively confront.
"National security depends on energy security," the Arizona senator says in a speech he is to give Monday in which he suggests the country can't achieve either if it remains dependent on oil-rich Middle Eastern nations linked to terrorists.
"Al-Qaida must revel in the irony that America is effectively helping to fund both sides of the war they caused. As we sacrifice blood and treasure, some of our gas dollars flow to the fanatics who build the bombs, hatch the plots, and carry out attacks on our soldiers and citizens," McCain says. "The transfer of American wealth to the Middle East helps sustain the conditions on which terrorists prey."
He also terms global warming "a serious and urgent economic, environmental and national security challenge" and adds that "the problem isn't a Hollywood invention," according to excerpts of planned remarks his campaign made available Sunday.
The speech in Washington is the third and final policy address McCain is giving as he seeks to inject momentum into his campaign. An official presidential announcement tour is planned for this week in early primary states even though he has been campaigning for months.
Once considered the presumptive GOP front-runner, McCain now trails in national polls and money. In recent weeks, he also has faced criticism for his staunch support of President Bush's Iraq troop buildup and his assessment of progress in securing Baghdad.
In the speech, McCain casts U.S. energy policy in national security terms as he seeks to portray himself as the best person to keep the country safe.
The senator singles out Iran and Venezuela as examples of nations that because of their oil wealth _ and their ability to hold that over the United States' head _ have no incentives to change their troublesome ways and open their economies and governments.
"The politics of oil impede the global progress of our values, and restrains governments from acting on the most basic impulses of human decency," McCain says.
He promises to propose an energy policy akin to "a declaration of independence from the fear bred by our reliance on oil sheiks and our vulnerability to the troubled politics of the lands they rule."
McCain also promotes his climate-change legislation that would set caps on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and offer incentives for industries to come up with new energy sources.
"The world is already feeling the powerful effects of global warming, and far more dire consequences are predicted if we let the growing deluge of greenhouse gas emissions continue, and wreak havoc with Gods creation," he says.