This is not my field, but how would promoting oil shale play in Colorado? And elsewhere? Were McCain to promote it, would it, assuming Obama did not do the same, help him secure the state? Or, on the other side, might it hurt him more with green ideologues in the state than it helps?
(For balance, here’s an argument against oil shale). The key question, regarding the usefulness of oil shale, not the politics of it, seems to be how much technology has improved since the 1970s.