So how did the GOP presidential candidates do on the EPA, climate and energy issues at the Reagan Library debate Wednesday night?
Below is our quick summary. We recommend watching the debate for yourself to see how the candidates actually responded.
The EPA/climate/energy discussion didn’t come up until more than 93 minutes into the 108-minute debate.
- Jon Huntsman kicked off the topic (at about 93:10 into the debate) by reiterating his earlier comments that Rick Perry is essentially “crazy” for not believing in the climate consensus.
- Perry then tried to defend himself. The good news is that Perry stuck to his guns by stating more than once that the science wasn’t settled and it would be foolish to risk the American economy on unsettled science. The bad news is that Perry’s delivery of this defense was stumbly and short on specifics when pressed for details as to what scientists and theories he found credible.
- A question was then put to Michelle Bachmann about her comments from last week about drilling in the everglades. Sidestepping the question, Bachmann began to attack the notion of a climate consensus but then quickly veered off into an attack on “devastating” EPA rules that would shutter 20% of coal-fired plants. Though her heart was in the right place, her attack on the EPA came off as a talking point that she had memorized as opposed to something she really understood.
- Newt Gingrich then closed off the EPA/climate/energy portion of the debate with a comment about how energy development could raise revenues for the government. But is that really why we should develop our natural resources? So the government can reap greater revenues?
As pointed out before, the GOP candidates generally either don’t understand or are afraid of the issues of EPA, climate and energy. They don’t raise those issues and never look comfortable talking about them. And you can bet that the MSNBC interviewers weren’t interested in having the GOP candidates talk about those issues except in an effort to embarrass them. BTW, why would GOP candidates agree to a debate moderated by the left-leaning MSNBC in the first place?
This debate was embarrassing — and not just because of the thinness and ineptitude of the candidates on the EPA/climate/energy issue.
If Obama is to be a one-termer, the GOP candidates need to dramatically step up their game.