Either way, past support for cap-and-trade is a liability with a clear majority of GOP voters.
… The super PAC Restore our Future, which supports Romney, attacked Gingrich in the days before the election for having “so much in common” with President Obama, such as supporting cap and trade and expressing belief in climate change.
At the same time, Santorum was leveling similar attacks at Romney, who supported carbon reductions when he was governor, before changing course to oppose the 10-state cap-and-trade program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
“We need someone who’s going to make President Obama the issue,” Santorum said on Fox News last week, adding that Romney is ill-equipped to make a “sharp contrast” with Obama because Romney has “a bad record on climate change” and other issues.
Santorum has the benefit of never supporting emission-pinching programs, a distinction that some GOP operatives say is a valuable comparison among today’s conservative electorate.
“It’s Ricky’s way of saying, ‘I’m the true believer; these guys are the heretics,'” said Mike McKenna, a Republican energy strategist who isn’t affiliated with a primary candidate. “It’s very smart and it does have traction. For good or ill, climate change has the feel now of a religious item on both sides.”
Santorum’s strategy didn’t work in New Hampshire. Romney outpaced all of his opponents among conservative voters, attracting 33 percent of those who describe themselves as “very conservative,” compared to Santorum’s 26 percent. Romney also won easily among evangelicals and tea party supporters…