Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson seemed taken by surprise when asked Tuesday about oil drilling in the Everglades, apparently unaware it’s been a major Florida issue.
Before answering, he laughed at the question.
“Gosh, no one has told me that there’s any major reserves in the Everglades, but maybe that’s one of the things I need to learn while I’m down here,” Thompson said after talking over state issues with Gov. Charlie Crist.
Thompson, who has called for seeking U.S. oil resources wherever they exist, was asked by an Associated Press reporter whether that included drilling in the Everglades.
“I’m not going to start out by taking this, that or the other off the table in terms of our overall energy situation,” he said.
Upon learning of this, Mitt Romney took an obvious, but I suppose laudable, political swipe at Thompson:
“You’re kidding?” said Romney, who also was campaigning in Florida. “Let’s take that off the table. We’re not going to drill in the Everglades. There are certain places in America that are national treasures and the Everglades is one of those.”
Of course, Romney is a huge fan of the idea of drilling in ANWR and off the Gulf Coast of Florida. About the latter he made the cool, sober point that, “If we don’t do it, Castro will,” according to the DNC. I’m sure that what we have here is a principled disagreement about what, exactly, constitutes a “national treasure.”