Obama Shifts Tack on Offshore Drilling

Candidate says he would accept drilling as part of energy package
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2008 6:10 AM CDT
Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla., Friday, Aug. 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama softened his opposition to offshore oil drilling yesterday, telling the Palm Beach Post in an interview  that he would be willing to accept  "a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage"  it if necessary to avoid a deadlock on energy policy. He stressed that he was still no fan of drilling and pointed out that ending the ban would take a decade to affect gas prices.

"We're not going to drill our way out of this problem," Obama told the Palm Peach Post, but said, "I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done." Separately, Obama also backed the bipartisan energy plan offered by 10 senators yesterday, McClatchy reports, though that also would end most of the ban on offshore drilling. "Like all compromises, it also includes steps that I haven't always supported," he said in a statement which adds that he remains "skeptical" that drilling would bring down prices or significantly reduce dependence on foreign oil.