Crist: Offshore drilling ‘has got to be tabled for sure’

“If this doesn’t make the case that we have got to go to clean energy . . . I don’t know what does,” he said.

The Obama administration in late March called on Congress to pare back drilling restrictions in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which unlike other coastal regions remains largely under a drilling moratorium.

The plan calls for keeping a 125-mile no-drilling buffer off Florida’s Gulf shores. The administration is also planning to open new areas off the Atlantic Coast and in Arctic waters.

Obama administration officials have acknowledged that the spill could influence the scope of future leasing, noting in recent days that they are at the beginning of a long process of analyzing what tracts should be leased in future years. The bulk of their plans address the 2012-2017 period.

Crist’s GOP opponent, former state House Speaker Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE, said on Sunday that the spill is “shaping up to be an ecological disaster, but also an economic one.” Rubio, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” focused his remarks on the need to contain the spill but avoided comment on whether new drilling should be put on hold.

“Well, quite frankly, I don't think there is any imminent plans to drill offshore anyway. And so that is a moot point,” Rubio said.

“Order number one is to get this under control. And step number two is to figure out why this happened so that it will never, ever happen again,” he added.