The McCain campaign believes that the American people will ultimately understand that energy realities make the need to drill off shore necessary; they believe that it is the right decision, even if it contradicts Sen. John McCain’s previous position.
But there are the realities of this as well, including the opposition to off-shore drilling in some coastal states. Including a Blue state McCain has said he’s interested in winning — the Garden State of New Jersey.
The GOP Senate candidate in New Jersey, former Rep. Dick Zimmer, R-NJ, for instance, issued a press released saying: "ZIMMER SAYS NO TO DRILLING OFF NJ BEACHES –Opposes efforts by President Bush & Congress to allow oil drilling off the NJ coast."
As one Democratic official said to me, "If McCain was ever serious about trying to win New Jersey, his chances went the way of the Exxon Valdez."
Again, regardless of the merits, look for Democrats to use this issue against McCain, and to force candidates such as Zimmer into awkwardness.