POLITICS
09/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Traveling To Oil Rig (Partially) Owned By... Exxon

Sometimes political attacks materialize all by themselves.

John McCain is set to board a helicopter today and travel 150 miles off the Louisiana cost to host a campaign event on the Genesis Project oil rig.

The overarching point is to stress the Senator's newfound commitment to offshore drilling. But the stop also plays into a meme critics have been pushing for weeks.

The oil rig on which McCain will be speaking is partially owned by Exxon Mobil. According to the website RIGZONE.com, the energy giant has a 38.38 percent share in the Genesis Project, topped only by Chevron's 56.67 percent.

The coincidence is surely music to Democratic ears. After all, the DNC has been calling the Senator "Exxon John" for weeks in response to McCain's refusal to support energy legislation that contains a windfall profit tax on oil companies.

Of course, the attack is muddled a bit by the fact that Barack Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has received more money from Exxon employees: $42,100 to McCain's $35,166 (though McCain has received far more from the oil and gas industry as a whole and his joint committee with the RNC has received more from Exxon than Obama). Nevertheless, expect this oil rig blunder to make an appearance in a DNC or Obama campaign attack ad in the future.

UPDATE: And indeed... the DNC sends out an email hitting McCain for his oil rig visit, adding, among other things that "on that rig, it took 10 years from the date oil was discovered until the rig he will be standing on today produced a single drop of oil."

LATER UPDATE: The Obama camp joins the fray.

"For three decades, as our energy crisis grew, decision-making in Washington has been rigged against our national interests and the interests of American consumers," emails spokesman Tommy Vietor. "And for almost that long, Senator McCain has been part of the problem. For decades, he has stood with the big oil companies and voted against the development of the alternative energy we need. When a critical proposal came before the Senate late last year that would have provided tax incentives for the development of alternative energy by revoking $13 billion in giveaways to the oil companies, he was the only Senator who didn't vote - and we came up one vote short."