GOING NUCLEAR…. Last week, in his acceptance speech, Barack Obama explained, “As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.” It was entirely consistent with the line Obama has taken throughout the campaign — while Edwards took a firm stand against nuclear power, and Clinton was largely agnostic on the subject, Obama always expressed a degree of openness to the idea.

It’s odd, then, that one of the major talking points from the McCain campaign is to attack Obama’s “opposition” to nuclear power, despite the fact that Obama has said the opposite.

Last night, for example, John McCain explained in his acceptance speech:

“Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that.”

This morning, on CBS News’ “The Early Show,” Steve Schmidt said the same thing:

“We need to drill for more oil here now. We need to build nuclear power plants. Senator Obama is against both and if you’re against both, we will never be energy independent.”

In our reality, Obama is open to expanding drilling as part of a broader compromise on a comprehensive energy policy, and he’s also committed to utilizing more nuclear power. The attack just so happens to be backwards.

I guess some focus group somewhere told the McCain campaign this is a good idea, but it’s a little jarring, isn’t it?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.