Drill, baby, drill

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"Drill, baby, drill!" was a 2008 Republican campaign slogan first used at the 2008 Republican National Convention[1] by former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, who was later elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee.[2] The slogan expressed support for increased drilling for petroleum and gas as sources of additional energy and gained further prominence after it was used by Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin during the vice-presidential debate. Former President Donald Trump used the phrase in response to a voter question during a CNN presidential townhall on May 11, 2023.[3]

Vice Presidential debate[edit]

On October 2, 2008, at the vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, "drill, baby, drill" reached a new prominence. Joe Biden, referring to the energy crisis and McCain's 20 votes against funding solar and wind energy, stated that McCain thinks "the only answer is drill, drill, drill. Drill we must, but it will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to be drilled." Palin responded by saying, "The chant is 'drill, baby, drill.' And that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into."[4]

Aftermath of the BP oil spill[edit]

Republicans continued to use the slogan after the 2008 election.[5] In 2010, however, the slogan received renewed attention because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a major oil spill at a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill caused extensive environmental damages and economic losses estimated in the billions of dollars. As a result, some proponents of "Drill, baby, drill" became embarrassed about their previous support.[6] The slogan was parodied as "Spill, baby, spill",[7] and "Kill, baby, Kill".[8] Two senior Republican Senators, Jon Kyl and Pat Roberts, made comments attempting to distance themselves and the Republican Party from the slogan.[9]


Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund in 2014 harked back to the "drill baby" phrase as he launched a renewed effort to limit the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).[10]

Other uses of this slogan[edit]

The Norwegian Progress Party's Youth Wing also used the slogan "Drill, baby, drill!" in 2021 to symbolize that the party does not want Norway to stop drilling for oil and gas.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harger, Jim (2008-10-02). "GOP election promoter urges handlers to unleash Sarah Palin". Grand Rapids Press. Michigan Live. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  2. ^ "Top of the Ticket | Sunday shows: You better want to hear Adm. Thad Allen this weekend; he's everywhere | Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
  3. ^ Geiger, Julianne (May 11, 2023), "Trump Promises To "Drill, Baby, Drill" If Elected"
  4. ^ "Debate Transcript", The Commission on Presidential Debates, October 2, 2008. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  5. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (May 5, 2010). "Sens. Kyl And Roberts Pretend Republicans Never Embraced The Slogan 'Drill, Baby, Drill'". Think Progress. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
  6. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (May 4, 2010), "Nelson says colleagues embarrassed by 'drill, baby, drill'", The Hill, retrieved 2010-05-13
  7. ^ Corrigan, Patrick (May 1, 2010). "Editorial cartoon". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
  8. ^ "Group wants boycott at gas station in Reno | rgj.com | The Reno Gazette-Journal". rgj.com. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-06-05.[dead link]
  9. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (May 4, 2010), "Senior Republicans distance themselves from 'drill, baby, drill'", The Hill, archived from the original on May 10, 2010, retrieved 2010-05-13
  10. ^ Krupp, Fred, "Don't Just Drill, Baby -- Drill Carefully: How to Make Fracking Safer for the Environment", Foreign Affairs magazine, May/June 2014. Article discussed in Krupp t'v. interview Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, Charlie Rose, aired 05/15/2014; minutes 36-53. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
  11. ^ "Frp-sjokk i skolevalget. Vant ungdommen med «drill, baby, drill»". www.aftenposten.no (in Norwegian Bokmål). 2021-09-07. Retrieved 2023-08-24.