McCain to the Rescue?

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Contributor Eric Pooley on the McCain global warming news the media missed today…

John McCain tried to make some news today — he pretty much came out in support of the ambitious Lieberman-Warner global warming bill — but nobody bothered to report it.

Prospects have been dimming for the climate bill, which would impose a declining cap on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It’s scheduled to hit the Senate floor next month. The bill’s floor manager, Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Barbara Boxer, just admitted that she doesn’t yet have the 60 votes she’ll need to overcome a Republican filibuster. The bill has been attacked by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, who claim it would wreck the economy, and that’s scared away some potential supporters. So Boxer and the bill’s sponsors, Joe Lieberman and John Warner, have been anxiously waiting to see where McCain would come down on it.

McCain, who teamed up with Lieberman on earlier versions of the bill, has been cagey up until now. He’s set to give a big speech on climate change Monday in Oregon, but tipped his hand at a press conference in New Jersey today. With Lieberman at his side, McCain was asked about the climate bill. “I hope it will pass,” he said, “and I hope the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the President of the United States would sign it.” Amazingly, nobody reported his words — his bearings were getting all the attention. But the Capitol Hill rumor mill began buzzing about the quote, and when I called McCain traveling press secretary Brooke Buchanan, she confirmed it — but said it doesn’t mean the candidate has actually signed on. “He wants to support the bill,” she said, “he supports the goals of the bill, but he believes a comprehensive nuclear component needs to be added to it.” Barbara Boxer won’t stand for too many nuclear goodies being tacked on, so staffers for McCain, Boxer, Lieberman and Warner will meet this coming week to hash out a compromise. It won’t be resolved by Monday, but look for McCain to offer even stronger praise for Lieberman-Warner in his Oregon speech. After all, his stance on global warming —it’s real, and we need to deal with it —is his campaign’s best evidence that he’s not just like George W. Bush