John McCain's support for offshore drilling could hurt his prospects in the nation's largest battleground state, where voters have long favored safeguarding the economically and environmentally precious coastline.
Several high-profile Florida Republicans in Tallahassee and Washington broke with their party's presumptive presidential nominee. Two of McCain's chief supporters, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist, this week abandoned their previous opposition to offshore drilling.
The issue puts McCain in the same camp as President Bush -- who on Wednesday echoed the Arizona senator's call to lift the ban in hopes of lowering gas prices -- at a time when McCain is trying to distance himself from the unpopular administration.
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