The Washington Times - August 4, 2008, 03:15PM

With fewer than 100 days to go until the presidential election, the two candidates have put aside petty squabbles and moved on to one of the most contentious debates of the campaign — tire pressure.
 “There are things that you can do individually though to save energy; making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires,” Sen. Barack Obama said at a town hall in Springfield, Missouri, last week.
Sen. John McCain countered that offshore drilling was the real solution to rising gasoline prices, and ridiculed Obama, saying: “The only thing I’ve heard him say is that we should inflate our tires.”
On a flight from Washington to Philadelphia today, McCain senior adviser Mark Salter passed out tire gauges to reporters that had the words “Obama’s Energy Plan” etched into them. The Republican National Committee is handing the gauges out this morning at Obama’s bug energy speech in Lansing, Mich.
The Obama campaign took the slight seriously. “NASCAR says tire maintenance key to fuel economy, echoing Republican Govs Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger,” read a meesage from the campaign’s Tommy Vietor.

“Tires that are underinflated by 6 to 7 pounds per square inch increase tire rolling resistance 10 percent or more, increase tread wear rates and tire fatigue. When a tire is underinflated, the tire’s road contact zone and cyclic stress level changes resulting in undesirable loss in tire and vehicle performance,” the release said.
Saying Republicans “continue to make light of a serious challenge,” Vietor dug up a quote from the governors, who wrote in June that Americans shoud drive slower, keep engines tuned and make sure their tires are properly inflated.
So pay attention, Americans, the campaign is finally back to the issues that most matter to you.
— Joseph Curl, senior White House reporter, The Washington Times