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President Barack Obama's proposal today to allow more offshore oil and gas drilling won the early support of the chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he sees room for a bipartisan compromise on energy following the contentious, partisan fight over health care reform over the past year.

During an appearance before the Hamilton Place Rotary Club, Mr. Alexander said "the president appears to be warming up" to Republican-backed ideas to encourage more nuclear power, natural gas exploration, energy research and development and electric cars and trucks.

"Those are low-cost steps to a clean energy policy which Republicans have advocated and the president seems to be moving in that direction," he said.

President Obama said today he favors oil and gas drilling under controlled circumstances off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.

"As we learned in the health care debate, it's important to read the fine print before signing up," Mr. Alexander said in response to the proposal.

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