Muckraker: Grist on PoliticsIn his remarks in Jersey City, N.J., on Friday, GOP presidential contender John McCain appeared to offer an off-handed endorsement of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. “I hope it will pass,” he told the crowd, “and I hope the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the president of the United States would sign it.”

While he’s offered tepid support for the bill before, he’s hesitated to fully endorse it and has suggested that he’d like to see more subsidies for nuclear energy. Swampland’s Eric Pooley got McCain’s traveling press secretary on the phone for follow up; she suggested that the remarks still shouldn’t be considered a definite signal that the candidate has decided to sign on: “He wants to support the bill, he supports the goals of the bill, but he believes a comprehensive nuclear component needs to be added to it.”

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Pooley has more:

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.

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A full-out McCain endorsement of Lieberman-Warner would, of course, be significant. The legislation is expected to hit the Senate floor next month, and Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer admitted this week ($ub req’d) that she doesn’t yet have the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Boxer, Lieberman, and Warner have been hoping McCain will come out in favor of the bill and possibly prompt others to follow suit.