McCain slips: 'Get those offshore reserves exploited'
David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Friday July 11, 2008

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain let his tongue get the best of him at a town hall meeting Friday, revealing what critics would say is the true effect of opening US coastlines to drilling he now supports after years of opposing.

"I'll do everything in my power to get those offshore reserves exploited ... um, er, explored, discovered and um..." McCain said, drawing some knowing chuckles from the largely Republican audience.

He had to stop and collect his thoughts. Already he had been answering a woman's question about lowering gas prices for nearly two minutes -- squeezing in a joke about France in the process -- and he seemed flustered.

Thoughts gathered, he continued. The oil reserves around coastal states like Florida would be "explored and exploited and we will send the message ... all over the world that the United States is on the road to becoming independent from foreign oil." (emphasis his)

McCain has been criticized for reversing his prior opposition to expanding off-shore oil exploration, which environmentalists say would devastate pristine coastlines while doing virtually nothing to reduce the cost of oil.

McCain spoke during a town hall event in Hudson, Wisconsin -- nearly 1,500 miles from the coastlines he wanted to hand over to the oil companies.

This video is from, broadcast July 11, 2008.

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