CNN’s Jake Tapper tried to highlight the differences between Republican presidential candidates over the issue of manmade global warming last night, but his debate plan to get candidates to go head-to-head on climate failed.
After invoking the name of George Schultz, President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, Tapper asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio why he disagreed with the Reaganite over global warming. Rubio responded that “we’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do.”
“I’m citing George Shultz,” Tapper said, trying to show the difference between Rubio and someone who actually worked for the Reagan administration.
Rubio rebuffed him by saying, “Well, and I don’t — he may have lined up with their positions on this issue. But here is the bottom line. Every proposal they put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.”
Tapper then tried to get New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to attack Rubio over global warming. Christie has previously said he was concerned about manmade global warming, which Tapper tried to use to drive a wedge between the candidates.
“Governor Christie, you have said that climate change is real, and that humans help contribute to it. Without getting into the issue of China versus the United States, which I understand you’ve talked about before, what do you make of skeptics of climate change such as Senator Rubio?” Tapper asked.
“I don’t think Senator Rubio is a skeptic of climate change,” Christie responded. “I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with. That in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem.”
“Look at what we have done in New Jersey,” the governor added. “We have already reached our clean air goals for 2020. And when I was governor, I pulled out of the regional cap and trade deal, the only state in the Northeast that did that. And we still reached our goals.”
Tapper again invoked Schultz’s name to highlight how Christie and Rubio disagreed with someone who worked for President Reagan — that backfired too.
“I understand. No, no, listen, everybody makes a mistake every once in a while, Jake, even George Shultz,” Christie said. “And if that’s truly a representation of what he believes we should be doing, then with all due respect to the former secretary of state, I disagree with him.”
George Schultz has been one of a handful of prominent conservatives to come out in favor of policies to tackle global warming. In 2013, Schultz and economist Gary Becker wrote an oped in The Wall Street Journal calling for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
“Clearly, a revenue-neutral carbon tax would benefit all Americans by eliminating the need for costly energy subsidies while promoting a level playing field for energy producers,” Schultz and Becker wrote in the Journal.
Schultz’s call for a carbon tax, however, has fallen flat among most conservatives who see the tax as damaging to the economy and as a way for politicians to increase the size of government.
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