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Nothing Says 'Drill Safely' Like The Smell Of Diesel In The French Quarter

Recognizing the interest in Barack Obama’s speech in Germany today, the McCain campaign came up with a photo-op that would have captured at least s

Recognizing the interest in Barack Obama’s speech in Germany today, the McCain campaign came up with a photo-op that would have captured at least some attention — John McCain would hop on a helicopter and give a speech from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast. The campaign knows how important oil prices are to voters, so McCain assumed he could fool a few of them into thinking coastal drilling would give them relief at the pump.

But just an hour after the photo-op was finalized and the media was alerted, the event was off. The campaign said the weather just wasn’t cooperating. Jonathan Martin noted, “The campaign declined to comment any further about the quick decision to spike the trip other than to cite the weather.”

Was the weather the real reason for the cancellation? Maybe, or perhaps the McCain gang didn’t want to visit the rig if the reporters on hand might notice the smell of diesel wafting through the French Quarter.

The Coast Guard closed 29 miles of the Mississippi River at New Orleans after a 600-foot tanker and a barge loaded with fuel oil collided Wednesday, breaking the barge in half.

Nobody was injured, but more than 419,000 gallons of heavy, almost tar-like fuel oil spilled from the barge, forming a slick 12 miles long, said Lt. Cdr. Cheri Ben-Iesau, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. […]

The double-hulled tanker Tintomara was loaded with about 4.2 million gallons of biodiesel and nearly 1.3 million gallons of styrene, but was not leaking, said Michael Wilson, president of ship management company Laurin Maritime (America) Inc. in Houston.

The collision occurred about 1:30 a.m. CDT just upriver from the Crescent City Connection, a pair of bridges between New Orleans’ east and west banks. A smell which many people thought was diesel was noticeable in the French Quarter and parts of New Orleans’ central business district.

Nothing says “drill safely now” like an oil spill that closes 29 miles of the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

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