Pawlentys apology papers over his extensive support for cap and trade

Facing pressure from Republican primary voters, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty attempted to apologize during Thursday night’s GOP debate for his past support of cap and trade, the climate change legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While mainstream news outlets accepted Pawlenty’s apology and wondered if primary voters would do the same, it largely went ignored that Pawlenty never actually apologized for supporting climate legislation.  ThinkProgress has the story.

In fact, in an attempt to duck, bob, weave, and explain away his previous support for cap and trade, Pawlenty only apologized for supporting researching cap and trade, ignoring his support for the legislation itself:

WALLACE: You now say that that was a ‘dumb mistake,’ but weren’t you in fact far more committed to cap and trade over those years than you now let on?

PAWLENTY: Chris, what I said to you on that day, and what I’ve said many other times, is this: We did consider and sign into law legislation in Minnesota that would study cap and trade, but we didn’t impose it. We signed up to look at it, to review, to study it, to join with other states, to look at it. And we did. And what I concluded subsequently is it’s really a bad idea. And this is not in the last six months. I sent a letter to Congress I think about two years ago, and at other times have said, ‘I was wrong, it was a mistake, and I’m sorry.’ It’s ham-fisted, it’s going to be harmful to the economy. [“¦]

I just admitted it. I don’t try to duck it, bob it, weave it, explain it away. I’m just telling you, I made a mistake. I look the American people in the eye and say I made a mistake. And I’ve opposed that cap and trade approach since.

Watch it:

Pawlenty is attempting to convince voters that, upon receiving studies about cap and trade, he “concluded subsequently” to oppose the policy. The reality is, he only concluded he needed to oppose cap and trade much later, when the GOP platform no longer included room for supporters of a policy that was originally a Republican idea.

As ThinkProgress has reported, Pawlenty has an extensive record of actively supporting cap and trade and other climate change initiatives. He signed multiple pieces of legislation calling for greenhouse gas reduction, including one that called for an 80 percent reduction in Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In 2008, he recorded a radio ad in which he declared, “Cap greenhouse gas polution now!” It wasn’t until 2009, when Pawlenty was busy trying to make a name for himself on the national scene, that he backed away from his support for the policy.

Pawlenty failed to address any of this last night, misleading voters to believe his support for cap and trade ended in the exploratory phase. His apology, it turns out, really wasn’t an apology at all.

A ThinkProgress repost

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7 Responses to Pawlentys apology papers over his extensive support for cap and trade

  1. I did not inhale.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    I always loathed guys like Pawlenty, starting in high school, when the candidates for student body president buttonholed me in the halls with their frozen grins and dull, canned platform (“I stand for more student participation in government!”.

    They went on to join fraternities and go to law school, becoming even more sickening. After a while they can’t even tell when they’re lying since, as Cheney once said, “we make our own reality”.

    The only student candidate I ever voted for was a physics student who ran for student body president at Berkeley under the Anarcho Mystical Bund party banner (he was apparently the only party member). His campaign slogan was posted all over campus:

    “All of my opponents are boogers”.

  3. Joan Savage says:

    Pawlenty is cultivating a “transformative technologies” position. The watchdogs say he has a lot of support from the financial industries. Do financial industries ever act as proxies for discreet venture capital or corporate interests?

    Companies that have one leg in developing renewables and the other leg deep in fossil fuel might be seeking a way to advance, simultaneously opening new markets and limiting their liability for the older fossil market. Note a similar spread of risk comes up at times in comments about other major investors, almost regardless of party affiliation.

  4. Mimikatz says:

    How can Pawlenty hope to run against Obama while taking a denialist position on climate, as demanded by the GOP base? This seems to be the dilemma for all of them. In the intraparty debates this year and early next they are all going to have to be denialists, but the eventual candidate will be hamstrung by these positions in the general.

  5. Lewis C says:

    Mimikatz at 4.

    I’d question the assumption that climate will form any significant part of those debates. Obama had cut his public mention of climate below one sentence per month since his well documented sabotage of the senate climate bill, for all he has restored that pitiful level since opening his re-election campaign.

    For instance he recently told a large assembly of students:
    “We know young people get passionate about issues like climate change.”

    Note the underlying messages here for the wider audience via any MSM coverage.
    – Passionate concern about climate change merely reflects the immature judgment of youth.
    – Climate change is just one among various secondary issues.
    – Immature judgment finds secondary issues like climate change attractive as the focus of concern.

    Given this ongoing underhand brush-off of the climate issue, I’d expect the Whitehouse to negotiate a tacit agreement with GOP to give climate at most a cursory visit during the candidates’ debates. Given the difficulty of defending denial against a well-briefed highly articulate Obama, the GOP will likely be happy to accept such a deal.

    Unless that is Obama happens to notice before then that his inherited Bush-era policy of a brinkmanship of inaction with China is demonstrably injuring America’s prospects – but making that fundamental change will be increasingly difficult the nearer he gets to full scale campaigning.

    The only means available of ensuring that the election campaign properly addresses the climate issue is to mount a credible primary challenge to Obama. But it seems that most activists, even here on CP, mistakenly put loyalty to the incumbent ahead of the climate issue, thereby probably foreclosing on that option.



  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Another example of just how debased and destructive ‘democracy’ has become as the Rightwing MSM foments a revolt of the greedy, ignorant, stupid and vicious. However pretty a theory, mass democracy in societies of millions is fatally flawed by the propensity of the Dunning-Krugerites to swamp their betters, particularly if the real power in all capitalist states, the capitalist owners of society, spend a little loose change empowering and exciting the worst. Perhaps if we survive the next few decades, which will only happen if market capitalism disappears (yes, I’m dreaming)we will be able to actually establish societies where the masses are educated not only in intellectual terms, but also in moral and real spiritual understanding. Perhaps then we will have a society where generosity replaces greed, compassion usurps self-interest and thinking first of others, including future generations,ie selflessness replaces egomania. We will have to return psychopathy to the status of mental illness, rather than the guiding modus operandi of society.

  7. BillD says:

    What a jerk. Is this what we call a ‘moderate” or “mainstream” Republican. Can’t any of them think for themselves.