McCain tours, backs Glades

After two days of bruising from Democrats over his opposition to Everglades funding last year, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Friday that the federal government should match Florida's spending on the costly Everglades restoration program -- and he blamed pork-barrel politics for years of delays.

The senator from Arizona continued to defend his stance against a $23 billion water-projects bill in Congress that included almost $2 billion in Everglades projects -- a bill supported by Florida lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who accompanied McCain on an airboat ride through the Everglades on Friday.

McCain said he supported the president's veto of the bill -- later overturned by the Democratic Congress -- because it was ladled with costly, unnecessary projects, such as a museum along the lower Mississippi River. He said the Everglades projects deserved their own stand-alone bill, and that Congress should pay up the money it first promised for the restoration effort eight years ago.

Read the complete story at