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McCain visits Canada; Obama blasts him on offshore drilling

  • Story Highlights
  • Obama blasts McCain, Bush offshore oil policy at a stop in Florida
  • Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign together next week
  • Sen. John McCain touts U.S.-Canada ties, including energy policy, NAFTA
  • CNN "poll of polls" shows Obama leading McCain by 6 percentage points
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(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain was touting U.S.-Canadian economic and energy ties in a visit north Friday, while Sen. Barack Obama hammered his GOP opponent for embracing offshore drilling and other energy policies.

Sen. John McCain is in Canada on Friday, while Sen. Barack Obama talks to Democratic governors.

Sen. John McCain is in Canada on Friday, while Sen. Barack Obama talks to Democratic governors.

Obama, speaking to Democratic governors in Chicago, Illinois, hit McCain hard for his support of the gas tax "holiday" as well as drilling off the U.S. coasts.

Obama told the 16 governors attending an economic summit at the Chicago History Museum that McCain "has essentially embraced" President Bush's energy policy.

"When I hear McCain say that he is now in favor of the same oil drilling off the coast that he was opposed to just a week ago, what he doesn't tell you is that George Bush's own energy department has said that this would have no impact on consumers until 2030," he said, "no appreciable impact for the next 22 years. Something they're not telling consumers." Video Watch more of Obama's speech »

At an afternoon news conference in Jacksonville, Florida, Obama continued to lash out at McCain's oil drilling policy.

"John McCain's proposal, George Bush's proposal to drill offshore here in Florida, and other places around the country, would not provide families with any relief, this year, next year, five years from now," he said. "Believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money who are struggling to fill up their gas tanks by this summer or the next few years, I would consider it, but it won't."

At the Chicago summit, several governors touched on the economic woes affecting their respective states.

"There is a deep recession, and frankly, I believe it's actually gathering momentum. I don't think we're halfway through this," New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said.

Ted Strickland, governor of the swing state of Ohio, pledged his support to Obama to "make sure that you're the next president."

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said, "What you need, I believe, is a partner in Washington that understands your people, understands the hopes and dreams of the American people, and is not expected to solve every one of their problems but is willing to give them the tools they need to succeed and prosper and live out the American dream."

Also Friday, the Obama camp announced he would make a campaign appearance with Sen. Hillary Clinton on June 27.

The campaigning will follow a Democratic fundraiser Thursday that will mark the first time the former rivals have appeared together publicly since the New York senator ended her presidential bid. Video Watch more on next week's campaign event »

This week, Obama said, "I have not had conversations with Sen. Clinton because she has been getting a well-deserved vacation. And we will be speaking, I think, in the next few days, certainly within the next week, and we'll be having an ongoing conversation."

The Obama campaign said details of the pair's itinerary would be released later.

Meanwhile, the presumptive GOP nominee was in Canada on Friday, focusing on U.S. relations with its northern neighbor.

At the Economic Club of Toronto in Ottawa, McCain said that although there "aren't any electoral votes to be won up here in the middle of a presidential election ... there are many shared interests that require our attention today, and many Canadians here I am very proud to call friends."

"And today, the strength of that partnership is more vital than ever. The economic community we have founded, together with our alliance and the values we hold in common, have served our people for decades and has served us well. It will fall to the next president to strengthen these ties still further, adding to the security and prosperity of all of North America."

McCain said he will seek to expand trade and diplomatic ties if elected. Video Watch more on McCain's speech in Canada »

David Axelrod, chief strategist for the Obama campaign, blasted McCain's policy speech in Canada.

"Sen. McCain is making his case in Canada. He ought to come and make it here in the United States and listen to what people around this country are saying," he said.

McCain also talked about energy and environmental problems, including global warming.

"We must also work to ensure reliable energy supplies and increase sources of renewable energy. ... Canada is America's largest energy supplier. Not only does Canada have the second-largest proven oil reserves in the world, 60 percent of the energy produced in Canada is hydroelectric, clean energy. We stand much to gain by harmonizing our energy policies, just as we have gained by cooperating in trade through NAFTA."

While McCain supports the North American Free Trade Agreement, it has remained a hot-button issue for Democratic voters.

Before the Ohio primary in March, the battle between Obama and Clinton morphed into a fierce debate over free trade, a clash that seemed to hinge on which candidate could appear more anti-NAFTA.

But in a recent interview with Fortune magazine, Obama appears to be backing off his tough talk on trade. "Sometimes during campaigns, the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he said.

McCain insisted several times after his speech in Ottawa that the trip was not political, and he refused to answer any questions about Obama. Asked how the trip could be deemed nonpolitical when his campaign organized and executed it, McCain said the visit took place in the middle of campaigning and he didn't want taxpayers to pay for it.

Meanwhile, a new CNN "poll of polls" released Friday evening shows Obama leading McCain by 6 percentage points, 46 percent to 40 percent.


The national general election "poll of polls" consists of three surveys: Newsweek (June 18-19), Gallup tracking (June 16-19) and Fox News/Opinion Dynamics (June 17-18).

The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.

CNN's Dana Bash, Ed Hornick, Peter Hamby, Alexander Marquardt and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

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