Following BP’s oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist (I-FL) reconsidered his previous support for oil drilling, stating that drilling is “the opposite of safe.” Crist announced this week that he will run as an independent and is expected to make his opposition to drilling a centerpiece of his campaign.
The oil rig disaster has caused problems for the Republican candidate Marco Rubio, a drilling proponent. In 2008, Rubio told Newt Gingrich’s big oil front group American Solutions for Winning the Future that he was proud to join the “drill here, drill now, pay less effort.” (Rubio also promoted drilling In a spanish-language endorsement.)
Now, Rubio is waffling on drilling. On the one hand, he said recently, “We should be very concerned with what led to this disaster, and until that question is answered I don’t think we can move forward on anything else.” But at another campaign stop, Rubio “didn’t give a definitive answer to questions from reporters” on the topic.
This morning, Rubio again continued to struggle to explain his position on drilling. He told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that it’s a “moot point” as to whether we should stop any plans for drilling expansion. And on CNN, he said we should “rethink” our understanding of drilling technologies:
CROWLEY: And you have been for more offshore drilling. Does this make you rethink that?
RUBIO: I think it makes us rethink the technologies of offshore drilling.
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President Obama has said no new offshore oil drilling leases will be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion that unleashed the massive spill. But, Obama maintains his support for eventually increasing offshore drilling, a position that Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and a host of Democratic Senators are asking the administration to reassess.