In September 2000, Bill Clinton proposed releasing crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to drive down heating oil and gas prices (and help Al Gore's candidacy). Lots of experts called it a dumb idea. (The Washington Post denounced it as "a bad idea, a dramatic gesture that might do the candidates some political good in the short run, while setting a precedent that could do the country harm in the long run.") But some people didn't care:
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, several informed sources told CNN, has advocated drawing down perhaps as much as 60 million barrels, although he conceded in his memo to the president that even that approach would likely have only a modest impact on prices.
Fast forward to May 2008:
Obama's campaign put out statements by two former Clinton administration Energy secretaries slamming the proposed tax break. One of them, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, called it "a shameless political ploy that would do nothing to help American families."