Barack Obama told a Florida newspaper Friday that he would be willing to compromise his opposition to off-shore drilling if that was necessary for a broader overhaul in the nation's energy policy.
"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama told The Palm Beach Post.
"If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done," said Obama.
Obama's softening of his opposition to expanded offshore drilling follows a concerted effort on the part of the GOP to portray the presumptive Democratic nominee as "Dr. No" on issues relating to the nation's energy supply.
Earlier this year, John McCain reversed himself and called for ending the federal ban on offshore oil and natural gas exploration so coastal states could decide whether to permit drilling.
Both presidential candidates spent Friday campaigning in Florida where the drilling issue was once taboo but is now gaining public support.
Obama is personally against expanded coastal drilling, believing that it would not provide tangible and immediate relief to consumers paying high gas prices. He also believes, as he reiterated on Friday, that the oil industry has not fully tapped the areas currently open to drilling.
The Palm Beach Post reports that Obama said he would consider "expanding the current drilling boundaries if it meant winning approval for more fuel-efficient cars, developing alternative energy sources and making the country more 'energy independent.'"
"The Republicans and the oil companies have been really beating the drums on drilling," Obama told The Palm Beach Post. "And so we don't want gridlock. We want to get something done."
The McCain campaign responded to Obama's interview by noting that the Illinois Democrat is still opposed to off-shore drilling even if he would go along with it as part of a broader compromise.
"It's clear that members of both parties are following John McCain's leadership toward an 'all of the above' approach on energy that includes nuclear, alternative energy, and off shore drilling," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "We hope Barack Obama will realize that his ongoing opposition to John McCain's realistic energy solutions and additional off shore drilling is wrong."
"I noticed a couple of days ago that Senator Obama challenged me to a duel. Well, light sabers is my weapon of choice."
--John McCain speaking to reporters in Panama City, Fla.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 2
On the campaign front. . .
-- 10:30 am ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters on economic security, Titusville, FL.
-- 2:00 pm ET: Addresses National Urban League Conference, Orlando, FL.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 3
At the White House. . .
-- 4:00 pm ET: Welcomes the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Emirate to Camp David.
MONDAY, AUGUST 4
At the White House. . .
-- 10:40 pm ET: Enroute to South Korea, stops at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska to speak with troops.
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Sunlen Miller Report: Obama: McCain's Eagerness to Exploit Race Issue 'Troublesome' LINK
ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg: Kaine: Lieberman for President LINK
ABC News' James Gerber and Teddy Davis: Oregon GOPer's TV Ad Touts Work with Obama LINK
ABC News' Mark Mooney: Obama Aide Concedes 'Dollar Bill' Remark Referred to His Race LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: McCain Campaign Mocks Obama as Messianic in Web Video LINK
ABC News' Matt Jaffe: Oregon GOPer's TV Ad Touts Work with Obama LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: McCain Camp Cozies Up to Bill Clinton On Obama and Race LINK
Bill Clinton's Plane Aborts Take-Off in Africa; Fmr Prez 'Livin' on a Prayer' in Bon Jovi Press Plane LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: GOP Lumps Obama With Madonna and Clooney in New Quiz LINK
ABC News' Matt Jaffe and Rick Klein: Website Suggests Obama-Bayh Ticket LINK
ABC News' Russell Goldman: Celebrities the Candidates Can Do Without LINK
ABC News' David Wright: A Surge on the Homefront? LINK
ABC News' Kate Snow and Dana Hughes: Bill Clinton Trades Presidential Trail for Annual African Tour LINK
ABC News' Jennifer Parker and Sunlen Miller: 'Dream Ticket' Meets Reality: Obama Looks Beyond Clinton LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller: Protesters: "What About The Black Community, Obama?" LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Obama Event Interrupted by Protesters
Protesters to Obama: "What about the black community, Obama?" LINK
Race & Celebrity
How O.J., Britney and Paris have made their way into the 08' campaign season. LINK
McCain Compares Obama to Moses
The McCain camp intensifies the ad war with a new ad calling Obama "The One." LINK
Joy: 'Bruni Is a Homewrecker'
"View" ladies debate dating married men. LINK
Kimmel: Obama's Counter Ad
Jimmy pokes fun at the controversy surrounding McCain's new ad. LINK
'The Note' Rewinds the Week's Best Moments
ABC News' Senior Political Reporter Rick Klein on the weekly political roundup. LINK
France's First Lady
Carla Bruni discusses her controversial past and new role as Sarkozy's wife. LINK
David Axelrod's Democratic Opinion
Obama's chief strategist addresses role of race in campaign. LINK
Rick Davis' Republican Perspective
McCain's campaign manager pledges to run a respectable campaign. LINK
Who's Playing the Race Card?
Obama and McCain argue about the role of race in the election. LINK
Playing the Race Card in Politics
Both Republicans and Democrats are accusing the other of using race as an issue. LINK
Bill Clinton in Africa
The former president is on a goodwill tour of Africa. LINK
Rape in the Military
Nearly 60,000 female veterans reported being raped or assaulted since 2002. LINK