Obama's Love Affair with Ethanol

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is on record as a big supporter of ethanol and has many ties with the industry. At the opening of a new ethanol plant, Obama argued that embracing ethanol "ultimately helps our national security, because right now we're sending billions of dollars to some of the most hostile nations on earth." In addition, former senator Tom Daschle serves as one of Obama's national campaign chairs. Daschle also sits on the boards of three ethanol companies. During his early years in the Senate, Obama faced criticism for flying at subsidized rates on corporate airplanes. Two trips were on jets owned by Archer Daniels Midland, the nation's largest ethanol producer. Obama is a strong supporter of subsidies for the ethanol industry, even though some of those subsidies are given to the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax. Ethanol's energy production is only one fourth as efficient as that of Brazilian-made sugar cane ethanol, against which there is currently a tariff. Obama says that he would continue that taxation, even though it may be illegal under the World Trade Organization's rules.