The Washington Times - August 26, 2008, 03:03PM

Democrats in Congress should have led Republicans on their proposals to drill for oil offshore, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb told a breakfast crowd of Virginia delegates to Democratic National Convention.

“I think one of the great mistakes we made in terms of political strategy before this latest recess was not taking on the Republican party when they started talking about offshore drilling,” said Mr. Webb, himself a former Republican.

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Barack Obama, and other national Democrats, have moved to the center on offshore drilling, saying they’d consider tapping new oil supplies as part of a larger energy plan. Republican leaders, including presumptive presidential nominee John McCain, have supported lifting a ban on offshore drilling and allowing states to govern drilling along their coastlines.

Webb advised his Democratic colleagues that they should determine how much oil is available offshore, before engaging in debates about drilling, and grant states the power to block drilling if they choose.

Tom LoBianco, Maryland political reporter, The Washington Times