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George Will backtracks on the China-Cuba connection

Columnist George Will, the source of vice president Dick Cheney's mistaken assertion that the Chinese are drilling off Cuba's coast, has acknowledged his mistake.

"In a previous column," Will said at the bottom of a Tuesday column printed in the Washington Post, "I stated that China, in partnership with Cuba, is drilling for oil 60 miles from the Florida coast. While Cuba has partnered with Chinese companies to drill in the Florida Straits, no Chinese company has been involved in Cuba's oil exploration that close to the United States."

Cheney repeated Will's claim last week, but was forced to backtrack after several reports and a Senate floor speech by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, a fellow Republican, who called the China-Cuba drilling report "akin to urban legend."

The GOP -- eager to drill off Florida's coast and elsewhere -- has seized on the image of China drilling so close to Florida to push their point. The claims even caused a ruckus in Ohio.