With every twist and turn in the prolonged "primary circus" grabbing media attention, critics have accused the 2008 campaign of being long on personality and short on policy debate. Here’s a look at the issues confronting the candidates and where they stand.

Energy & Environment

Initially opposed lifting federal restrictions on offshore drilling, but has since backtracked. Now supports "a process that will allow us to make future drilling decisions based on science and fact."

Opposes energy exploration in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska.

Opposed McCain’s summer gas-tax holiday proposal.

Puts his environmental platform high on his policy agenda. Promises to re-engage with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) -- the main international forum dedicated to addressing the problem. Also promises to create a Global Energy Forum of the world’s largest emitters to focus on the issue.

Proposes an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Cap-and-trade involves providing economic incentives for reductions in the emissions of pollutants.
Flip-flopped on offshore drilling for a while, now vigorously supports it and proposes incentives to states permitting offshore exploration.

McCain however opposes energy exploration in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. But his running-mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, supports Arctic drilling - opening up the refuge was one of her 2006 gubernatorial campaign positions.

Proposed a summer gas-tax holiday due to rising fuel prices.

Frequently addresses the issue of climate change and supports the establishment of a "market-based system to curb greenhouse gas emissions." His running-mate Palin, however does not believe climate change is a man-made phenomenon.
Proposes a climate cap-and-trade mechanism would set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and allow entities to buy and sell rights to emit. Cap-and-trade involves providing economic incentives for reductions in the emissions of pollutants.
The mechanism would allow the market to decide lowest-cost compliance options.