The Note: Black Arts

A turn too many for McCain? "His newfound support for allowing states to decide whether to drill offshore, announced last week in Texas, carries risk," Cathleen Decker and Michael Finnegan write for the Los Angeles Times. "Having spent much of his campaign trying to distance himself from the current President Bush and Republican orthodoxy, McCain has now changed his tune to theirs on a hugely symbolic issue that has long helped motivate the independent voters whose support he needs to claim the White House."

A turn too many for Obama? "Given that energy appears likely to be a dominant issue in this election season, Barack Obama's campaign may want to settle on a more consistent message when it comes to subsidies for ethanol," Alec MacGillis writes in The Washington Post. Obama, in April: "Look, I've been a strong ethanol supporter because Illinois . . . is a major corn producer."

Per MacGillis: "He went on to say that he was concerned about reports that ethanol was helping drive up food prices, and that he saw ethanol as merely a transitional option that would eventually give way to biofuels that were more efficient and has less of an impact on food prices, such as ones made out of switchgrass."

The Sked:

As Hillary Clinton makes her return to the Senate Tuesday, the presidential candidates head west.

McCain talks energy at a noon ET event in Santa Barbara with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., then raises money in Riverside.

Obama has a 1:15 pm ET energy-themed event in Las Vegas. Per the campaign: "Obama will push for a second stimulus package that will send out another round of rebate checks to the American people. He'll tax the record profits of oil companies and use the money to help struggling families pay their energy bills. He'll provide a $1,000 tax cut that will go to 95 percent of all workers and their families in this country. And he'll close the loophole that allows corporations like Enron to engage in unregulated speculation that ends up artificially driving up the price of oil."

Obame then heads to a high-dollar fundraiser in Los Angeles.

Variety's Ted Johnson has some of the boldfaced names expected to be on hand for the Obama event at the Los Angeles Music Center: Cindy Crawford, Samuel L. Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jennifer Beals, Dennis Quaid, Heidi Klum, Sidney Poitier, Cedric the Entertainer, Will.i.am, Kal Penn, and Ari Emanuel, with a performance by Seal.

"The big question is just how many of Hillary Clinton's high-profile fund-raisers will show up at the event, as the sting of her loss is still hardfelt in some quarters," Johnson writes.

RNC spokesman Alex Conant isn't star-struck: "Barack Obama broke his promise to the public so that he could raise millions from Hollywood's rich and famous. He may have a few good lines, but Obama is a typical politician straight from a central casting."

The Veepstakes:

A coup for Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla.? "In a surprise move environmentalists call 'breathtaking,' U.S. Sugar Corp. plans to announce today a deal to sell the state 187,000 acres in the Everglades for $1.75-billion," Alex Leary and Jennifer Liberto report in the St. Petersburg Times. "If approved, it would be the largest conservation purchase the state has ever made, helping restore the ecosystem's natural flow and providing a quantum leap to the effort to clean up the Everglades."

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