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McCain's Dance

If John McCain keeps dancing like this, he's liable to break a hip.

Last month, he shimmied to the left on energy policy, infuriating conservatives with a plan to cap carbon emissions. Yesterday, he shuffled back to the right, demanding an end to quarter-century-old bans on offshore oil drilling.

"There are areas off our coasts that should be open to exploration and exploitation, and I hope we can take the first step by lifting the moratoria," he announced at a news conference at McCain headquarters in Crystal City.

Let's leave aside whether it's a good idea for the Republican presidential candidate to advocate the "exploitation" of the nation's coastlines. McCain said such drilling "would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis" -- even though it takes years to get from oil exploration to production.

It was, in other words, a typical day in the life of McCain. Pulled between the need to appeal to independent voters and the need to placate the still-suspicious Republican base, McCain has been stutter-stepping his way to the GOP convention.

Read the whole Sketch

-- Dana Milbank

By Dana Milbank  | June 17, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
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