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Florida Gov. Crist climbs aboard the McCain oil-drilling express

If one attribute John McCain wants in a running mate is a good soldier's mentality, it would seem Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has passed the test with flying colors.

As McCain revealed Monday that he now favored an end to the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has changed positions and called for an end to the federal ban of offshore oil drilling -- a reversal for him -- and that he would flesh out his position in a speech today, much speculation immediately focused on the tough position in which Crist, an oft-mentioned veep prospect, would find himself.

The Washington Post wrote that the push by McCain to deep-six the ban as part of the response to raising gasoline prices and let each affected state decide the exploration issue "is sure to annoy two key Republican allies," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Crist. Both have opposed coastal drilling.

In both states, support for the moratorium has been a given for most politicians (for more on how the issue plays in Florida, see this posting on the Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog).

MSNBC's First Read posting this morning noted the following: "No Republicans in Florida have gotten elected statewide without endorsing the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling, so McCain's decision is going to get its share of criticism even from VP wannabe" Crist.

But the item added that if "Crist tries to rationalize the McCain decision then we'll really find out just how much he wants on the ticket."

Apparently, very much.

A story posted by the Miami Herald a short while ago starts thusly: "Describing his position as evolving, Gov. Charlie Crist said he now supports exploratory drilling for oil and gas off Florida's coast because 'Floridians are suffering.' "

For more on Crist's change of heart, go here.

Schwarzenegger -- who, because he's a naturalized American citizen, is constitutionally prohibited from a spot on a presidential ticket -- is standing firm.

According to a statement ...

sent to us minutes ago by his office, he "opposes new drilling off the coast of California and supports the federal moratorium on new coastal drilling."

The statement adds that Schwarzenegger "will disagree with Sen. McCain from time to time but he remains fully supportive of the senator's candidacy."

We wonder, though, if McCain's new position will make for even feistier kitchen-table conversations at his family's home in Los Angeles?

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (23)

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McCain voted against ALTERNATIVE ENERGY research.

He is a sham. Pay attention and he will change positions right while you are watching him.

What difference does it make anyway (if we drill offshore).

We've already overfished it, polluted it with bic lighters and nurdles... like another rig is going to change anything. Sorry, but our future generations will still hate us.

Good Ol' Charlie Hangin' too much with his new BFF John McCain; sees himself as VP instead of caretaker of our beaches

This is ridiculous! If we were to begin right now, by the time the whole process was completed, and the oil was turned into gasoline, we all would be 10 years older!!

Any pol who presents this and drilling in Alaska as a solution to our current situation, is either completely uninformed, or, is knowingly and deliberately offering a "solution" that is NOT feasible.

Please do not be fooled by this proposition!!

McCain is just 4 more years of Bush. And our wonderful country CANNOT afford 4 more years of Bush. Seriously, we literally cannot afford it.

There is no shortage of crude oil (in the next few years). There is a shortage of refining capacity – which has been purposely curtailed for a decade in rare cooperation between oil companies (to bid up profits) and environmentalists (to avoid pollution). This decision paid off in the last few years, as the world demand has used up all the refining capacity.
2001 report:

McCain's policies are written by oil lobbyists, who lie about the real problem to get long-term oil rights from our national heritage. Drilling will NOT reduce pump prices but it will provide a bankable asset to Big Oil. Get rid of lobbyist influence on oil policy - only then can we finally see positive change.

Crist is a shrewd politician. His power on a McCain ticket should be taken seriously. Interestingly, it's well-known in Florida that Crist is gay (though he is not out), and I wonder how this will affect his chances on a republican election at the national level. In Florida, it's basically ignored on a "don't ask, don't tell" tacit agreement, but national politics are playing for much bigger stakes; it's unlikely to stay quiet.

We need drilling. I live in HB and I like the drilling. Makes me feel good to know that we are a little less dependent on the terrorists that wish to harm us and a little less subject to price shocks if rogue nations withdraw supply!

With the Chinese slant-drilling just 50 miles off the Florida coast, it is time for us to take advantage of those oil deposits--before they're depleted.
-Wm Tate,

How is it our congress can rail on the saudis and others who hate us for not drilling more oil, when we have our own? I say drill our own, while at the same time startl developing alternatives, which could take many years. Otherwise our people will suffer along with the economy.

Wm Tate, drilling for oil now will not bring it to market tomorrow but in 10-15 years. On top of that it will make no difference as long as the oil companies are allowed to ship it overseas. It's a great solution isn't it... let's let them ship it all to China. It's quite clear there's no short term fixes so we better start investing in alternatives and conservation now.

So, we want to drill for oil. Cool, where's the drill? I'll try my backyard to see if I can be a Beverly Hill Billy (LOL). Bush and McCain want to drill for more oil. How convenient for the big oil companies who for the longest time have refused to build a single refinery. Not because environmental concerns but just to keep the flow tight to keep prices high. There is no oil shortage. If oil companies are given rights to these national treasures who is to say they will dig out the oil to bring profits down? Nope, they will just put it off the market. Keep supply tight. We need to reinvent how OUR natural resources are allocated. There is no competition in the energy sector that is part of the reason for the greed in this industry. Thanks to politicians like MCBush who claim not to understand the economy, but know how to put the millions on White House Barbie (his Mcwife) to make himself appear more like us. I'm not buying it. No oil, for big oil. The need a Federal Energy Reserve, just like the banking industry has a Federal Reserve. The government must ensure proper allocation, and energy policy to ensure the oil companies, don't become a threat to our National Financial Security. If big oil don't want to be controlled by the government, the should do business in a way that does not shock the conciousness of the people who own those resources the people of the United States of America. Bush already has contracts written with big oil as beneficiaries. As history would have it in a Bush kind of way, big oil will make more money controlling even more of the oil wells of the world. Digging for more oil in America's frontiers will bring prices down is A BIG LIE. DON"T BE FOOL ONLY MORE COMPETITION WILL BRING PRICES DOWN. DETROIT NEEDS MORE HYBRIDS and FARMERS NEED TO GET THEIR ETHANOL, METHANE, and PROPANE READY. Putting more oil out would bring prices down. Keeping the wells in Anwar, and the continental shelf out of production to increase profits makes more sense. It is dirty but in business you have to be. If grandma freezes this winter, is no concern to big oil, big profits are even if it means not allowing a single drop of oil to flow from one of MCCains so called oil treasures.

you smart left coast people love your vehicles and drive, drive, drive. Where are you getting your gasoline? Either from the State of Texas and other states (not California, by golly) or from the Middle East. you definitely want your cake and want to eat it too. Your are a bunch of selfish people. I do believe that the states that do not want offshore drilling or drilling should not receive oil or gas and should ride bikes. Of course you could take public transportation but then it would be so, so expensive because the gas prices would continue to go up because in your selfish ways you want others to drill, not you. Piss on you.

A True Texan, we have offshore drilling and we deal with it and have very little problems.

It would be helpful to stick to facts rather than name calling. Most of the cost of gasoline is due to the price of crude oil. The demand for crude continues to rise as the economies of China, India, and other third-world nations continue their explosive growth. There hasn't been a refinery built in California in over thirty years. Why? for the same reason there hasn't been drilling off the coast of California ... NIMBY. Many "oil companies " focus on refining, not drilling. It doesn't take ten years to drill and then refine oil to gasoline. Even if it did, what is the solution ... do nothing? It is supply and demand. Senator Obama's proposal to invest heavily in alternative energy research is a great idea with a hope for a solution ten years down the road, maybe, but what to do in the meantime?

If we start using electric cars, the cost of electricity would likely soar, just like the cost of ethanol. Nuclear power is a viable solution to produce electricity. The life expectancy of a nuclear power plant is 35-40 years before the steel infrastructures becomes too brittle due to the high-speed neutrons. If gasoline is under $2/gallon, nuclear isn't as viable. At today's prices, it makes economic sense. Good luck at getting nuclear plants up. When gasoline was under $2 per gallon, I like much of California, didn't want drilling in the ocean. $4 plus a gallon, it is time to drill.

It is easy for New Jersey senators oppose Senator McCain's suggestion, considering that NJ has very little oil off shore. It would be like NJ opposing "Atlantic" salmon fishing.

The price paid at the pump in Germany is much higherThe cost in mid-May was 1.50 euros per liter ($2.30), but look at what the Germans get ... 65 cents of the price went to fuel tax with a further 24 cents taken in value-added tax. The product itself cost only 51 cents, while petrol stations were taking just under 10 cents a liter.,2144,3328290,00.html

What else is there to say – it appears these folks will do anything to win the white house. It doesn't matter whether they believe the gas tax holiday is a gimmick or that we cannot drill ourselves out of an oil dependant economy that causes national security to deteriorate just a little bit more each day. Individual integrity be damned - it's all about winning the presidency, not improving our country and the lives of our citizens. You know, I have had just about enough of this political rerun; I’ve seen it all too many times before.

Anyway, at the risk of sounding just a little too “elitist” - it's obvious for McCain and the United States of America, McCain’s will be a "pyrrhic victory" if he takes the white house intending to achieve his apparent desire to drill our way out of our national oil fixation. The simple fact is we are at the mercy of those nation states that possess the oil, and even if we begin drilling off our coasts tomorrow, we Americans will still be at their mercies for many years to come. Not to mention, after the oil companies successfully drill new holes at the bottoms of our oceans does anyone really expect that these free market oil companies are going to sell that new oil only to us citizens of North America, and at a reasonable price?

Do you ever feel like your intelligence is being insulted by these people who constantly say they are going to represent us when it often appears they are representing anybody but us? A long time ago, somebody said something akin to "the American electorate gets what it deserves," - don’t we deserve better than the last seven years?

So what’s it all come down to? Well, I remember John McCain of the year 2000, and I believed I knew that John McCain; I believed I could trust that John McCain. But this new John McCain, to him I say, “You’re no John McCain.” So if this new John McCain is what we can expect during a new republican presidency, we deserve better than John McCain, regardless of whether Barak Obama is that "better."

Crist is great news for Dems in Florida.

Now the choice is clear. Elect McCain and enjoy the view of all the new oil rigs. Mary, California contiues to produce oil and you in Texas and I California still pay the world market price. Get it?

I' m currently in Canada, which has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world. Gas is $1.38 a liter. That's $5.21 PER GALLON. (1.38 X 3.78 liters per gallon)

Obama benefits when Crist throws us all under the oil company bus.

C'mon Flroida - where's your tourist money gonna go when your coastal view is eclipsed by rigs, your beaches are covered in goo and the gas to get there costs $5.00 a gallon?

Crist is great news for Dems in Florida.

Now the choice is clear. Elect McCain and enjoy the view of all the new oil rigs. Mary, California contiues to produce oil and you in Texas and I California still pay the world market price. Get it?

I' m currently in Canada, which has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world. Gas is $1.38 a liter. That's $5.21 PER GALLON. (1.38 X 3.78 liters per gallon)

Obama benefits when Crist throws us all under the oil company bus.

C'mon Flroida - where's your tourist money gonna go when your coastal view is eclipsed by rigs, your beaches are covered in goo and the gas to get there costs $5.00 a gallon?

The "popular" FL governor, Charlie Crist, isn't so popular among many FL voters, including myself. He's a phony, pandering politician who say and do anything to get ahead. Big surprise there. He's too busy with his nose up McCain's as*, trying to get the VP nomination. I hope McCain chooses Romney as his running mate or he's going to lose the conservative base and give the presidency to Barack Hussein Obama...four years of hell we'll have to suffer.

Crist, why can Mexico pump, refine and sell gas in Mexico for $2.37 a gallon, but in the U.S. a country that produces 70% of our oil supply, not keep gas under $3.00 a gallon. Because greed of the oil companies and their influence in Washington. Why don't we remove tariffs on ethanol from Brazil, they run their whole country on ethanol and have extra to export. Our government has kept ethanol tariffs in place. Why? to protect big oil. If big oil starts drilling along our coast they will simply sell the new found oil at the highest price on the world market. Do we really think they will drill and refine the new oil to lower gas prices in the U.S.? like Mexico does today. No, but take a drive across the border to Mexico, you will find the gas is much cheaper.

Would You Sign Kyoto Accord As Is?

If you were in negotiations with the worlds nations and they came to you and said, that despite the fact that since 1990 their carbon emissions had grown by about -1% but yours had grown by 16%, they wanted you to sign an agreement agreeing to match 1990 carbon emissions levels, would you sign it? Do the numbers seem fair and equitable to you or would you think they believe you are a moron?

Al Gore signed it. Yes Al Gore has been pushing the US to agree to this deal for nearly a decade. He even gives lectures to encourage you to sign it. In fact he is so supportive of this one sided deal that he made a movie about it and the Hollywood "scientific" community gave him an Oscar while the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, represented by the same nations who convinced him to sign it, gave him their highest award.
Just remember that even then President Bill Clinton couldn't support the Kyoto Agreement that Al brought back from Japan. Do you really want the next President to sign it?

At the face of it, for many of us, it sounds like a good idea. Gas cost $4 per gallon, we pump more oil, and by the good ol' law of supply and demand, the price goes down. Wonderful old president Bush, speaking from his big cache of political capital, calls out the Democratic congress to do what's right for Americans. Gee, President George, wasn't it right back in 2004 when you still had Republican control? How come you cowboys didn't push for it then? A little history lesson. Americans invented the oil industry. The only problem is, we didn't have the world's biggest reserves. We had just enough to make George HW, George W and a new breed of robber barons rich, but nothing compared to what those altruistic oil shieks have buried beneath their sand. Sure we could drill offshore, and in pristine Alaskan wilderness. It might even make us feel like we were actually doing something about the high price of oil. But, unless we do what's required to rid ourselves of our addiction (President George's words - not mine), things will only get worse whether we drill or not. So, instead of removing the moratorium, and waiting ten years for any significant production, let's invest in alternatives, now, and in ten years we will be largely in oil-addiction recovery. Doesn't that make a whole lot more sense? At least to people who haven't sold their souls to King Oil?

HOORAY GOVERNER CHRIST AND JOHN MCCAIN!!!! It's about time Christ (and McCain, for that matter), made the right call on an issue. Anyone who thinks that oil platforms could be seen from the beach 50 miles away is obviously ill informed. Anyone who thinks oil drilling platforms DAMAGE the environment have never dived nor fished near offshore oil platforms. Those platforms serve as MASSIVE refuge for sea life. There hasn't been a significant offshore oil drilling accident that has damaged a beach in more than four decades since stringent controls were put in place. It's about time that our federal government stopped artificially limiting America's oil supply and choking the American way of life. The gall of American legislators to blame other countries for not increasing their oil supply while they themselves cripple their own country's ability to pump oil is OUTRAGEOUS and shows how blatantly phony they really are and how little they care about helping average Americans.

Typical Republican! Trying to further his political position, he sells out the people he is supposed to represent! Florida coasts are a major source of revenue for tourism. The drilling would ruin the coast and as a result,m our major source of income which is tourism.

All for something the oil companies currently have plenty of drilling rights in the US which they have not even used!!!!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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