On climate change, Dems and Perry find Romney shifting
October 28th, 2011
04:57 PM ET
2 years ago

On climate change, Dems and Perry find Romney shifting

(CNN) – Mitt Romney found himself taking hits from both a Republican rival and Democrats Friday over his stance on climate change, which both sides said had changed over the course of a few months.

On Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor told voters at a campaign event in Pittsburgh that he didn't know what was causing climate change.

"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet," Romney said. "And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."

Romney's opponents quickly noted that his stance seemed to have changed, using comments Romney had made in the past to support the notion he was flip-flopping on the issue. His campaign immediately pushed back calling the critics full of hot air.

Perry's campaign and the Democratic National Committee highlighted a statement Romney made when speaking to voters in New Hampshire in June, when he said "I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that."

In a statement, Perry's spokesman said the comments reflected a substantial change in position.

"Mitt Romney's positions change, often dramatically, depending on the audience or location," Ray Sullivan said. "Voters need to consider the fact that Romney, in one week, changed positions on manmade global warming, capping carbon emissions, and Ohio's efforts to curb union powers."

The DNC produced a web video using a similar criticism, punctuated with the question, "Which Mitt?"

Romney's campaign said that the governor's full quote provided more context.

"I don't speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world's getting warmer," Romney said in June. "I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don't know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing."

Andrea Saul, Romney's spokesperson, said the criticism doesn't hold up.

"This is ridiculous," Saul said in a statement. "Governor Romney's view on climate change has not changed. He believes it's occurring, and that human activity contributes to it, but he doesn't know to what extent. He opposes cap and trade, and he refused to sign such a plan when he was governor. Maybe the bigger threat is all the hot air coming from career politicians who are desperate to hold on to power."

Between the comments in June and his comments Thursday, Romney has taken a skeptical approach to climate change. On Aug. 8, Romney told a group in Nashua, New Hampshire, "I'm not a scientist. I think the Earth is probably getting warmer, but I'm not sure how much we contribute to it."

A few weeks later, on Aug. 24, Romney's expressed similar skepticism at an event in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is," he said. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans."

He continued, "What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to."


Filed under: DNC • Environmental policy • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. ruemorgue

    Mitt flips and flops. First on healthcate, then on global warming. He's the *worst* type of politician - no principles, other than his need to be elected.

    October 28, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. idknothing

    I think its time to correctly call Mitt a career politician. He has proven himself to be a flip flopper who will say anything to get elected. Reminds me of 90% of all the other career politicians.

    October 28, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Mitt Romney's positions change, often dramatically, depending on the audience or location," Ray Sullivan said. "Voters need to consider the fact that Romney, in one week, changed positions on manmade global warming, capping carbon emissions, and Ohio's efforts to curb union powers."

    Changing his position on 3 major issues in one week, must be record of sometime even for Weathvane Willard!

    I understand there is cold front comimg so his issue "changes" next week should be fast and erratic!

    Sounds like some handler sends him out to do the stump speech and tells him what the crowd demographic is and he "tailors" his speech accordingly. If only that pesky "LSM" would stop following him from speech to speech expecting some kind of consistency!

    October 28, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  4. dinak

    I am a "right-winger," and I can't stand Romney's stupidity. It's Herman Cain all the way, baby.

    October 29, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. John

    Why is global warming a political issue? Of course there are consequences for our actions and behaviors. If you worry about leaving debt for your children you should be equally worried about leaving behind a planet.

    October 29, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  6. Greg

    Both comments seemed relatively consistent. He said he isn't sure, and doesn't know the extent of human contribution. Even if he did change his position slightly, I don't see how that is a political taboo. I change my opinion on issues regularly as new information becomes available. I consider it a positive trait when someone can adjust their opinion as new information becomes available. I'd be more concerned if he said he knows for a fact one way or the other, and no amount of factual information can change his mind.

    October 29, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. Ron

    "Romney.....does he know where he stands?" LOL

    October 29, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  8. M.K.

    I have been voting since Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1956, and I have never seen such a dumb field of Republicans. every time they open their mouths, they either say something dumb or crazy. They must be smoking something stronger than Prince Albert.

    October 29, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  9. M.K.

    Is Gingrich still hanging around so he can peddle some more books?

    October 29, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. Pahrumpian

    In what way are these statements conflicting, let alone, flip-flopping? Having studied global climate change for several semesters I must agree with Romney that this is actually happening. So... these are the statements broken down. 1. He says he believes it is occurring although he doesn't have the facts to prove it. He is not a scientist so this makes sense. 2. He says he doesn't know exactly how it is occurring. It can be proven that certain things are contributing to the change both human, and non human. To what extent each element contributes to the over all problem would be impossible. ie waste of trillions of dollars. So please tell me how these things have not been consistent in his stance? those are the only two things he's said about it.

    October 29, 2011 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  11. thomas

    Why wont Mitt tell me why none of his five sons volunteered for military service ?

    October 29, 2011 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  12. Slash

    Someone ask him about evolution so we can find out if he's as incredibly backwards in scientific matters as Perry is. People who slept through middle school science class shouldn't be allowed to head a country.

    October 29, 2011 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  13. NoTags

    Jon Huntsman was correct when he said that Romney was a "well-lubricated weather vane". Which way is the wind blowing today Mitt? What is your flip-flop of the day?

    October 29, 2011 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  14. lgny

    The Republicans can end all this quickly. Just round up the candidates and sit them down with the National Academy of Sciences or any other reputable group of scientists. If they have any brains, they'll quickly understand that the evidence is much stronger than they had assumed.

    It's pathetic how they do everything EXCEPT ask the scientists - that's what's scary about the current slate of candidates.

    October 29, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  15. Russ in Md

    If you really do think this is flipflopping it still doesn't come close to comparing Obamas' 08 campaign.

    October 29, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  16. T'sah from Virginia

    Perry – or even Newt – will end up being selected to run against President Obama. Cain most like be a second. They will ALL lose in 2012. So does it really matter if Rimney SHIFTS!!!??? Hell NO it Doesn't!!!

    Obama 2012

    October 29, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. mememine69

    Climate Change is as real as support for CO2 mitigation is so Climate Change deniers will continue to occupy the voting booth and stall CO2 mitigation as long as the tens of thousands of scientists sit on their saintly thrones instead of marching in the streets and acting like it’s really a climate crisis. Ask yourself; do you really want to let bank funded and corporate run carbon trading markets ruled by politicians manage our planet by taxing the air?
    REAL planet lovers are glad CO2 was exaggerated. Pollution is real, death for the planet by it and or CO2 is not real, thankfully.

    October 29, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  18. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    Mitt the Flipwit is like a sleazy car salesman. No sane person would by a car from such a lying sleaze, and certainly no sane person wants him anywhere near government.

    October 29, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. Bev

    the man is going to say whatever needs to be said to become president i do not think he would be a strong president we need someone who is not afraid to stick with what he beleives even if it's not the popular opnion PERRY 2012

    October 29, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  20. G Foster

    Romney has flipped on climate, abortion and health care in lock step with polling. This man is a typical snake oil pol indulging audiences to get elected. He has no core values or beliefs. Huntsman is spot with describing Romney as a perfectly lubricated weather vane.

    October 29, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. Dave

    The last time I checked, Romney doesn't have a position on anything. He will say and do anything to get elected because all he cares about is power and winning. He cares nothing for America and he's clueless about what the every-day American is dealing with.

    October 29, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Mika

    Wow...changing view again...perfectly fine with me. I realy don't care if you are Rep or Demo who are quick to point out the mistake made by each party...IF YOU ARE SO PERFECT then why don't you MAN up and run to be the Pres of our nation....Can anyone tell me if there is any perfect politician or former president we ever had in this nation...so chaning views on different issues.... who cares..as long as I can have some who will can grow this ecomony so I can feed my family and pay my taxes and help the poor I wil vote for that person...if OBAMA can do that why not vote for him again in...but if he can't then why not MITT or another demo

    October 29, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. FM

    Anyone who is not questioning the flip-flopping of Romney should not be allowed even to register to vote leave alone voting. I have never heard anyone changing stances like this except the chameleon. It is too much, and think they are very few or none who can stomach this kind of behaviour!

    October 29, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. roro

    It's amazing to me to see these Republicans flip-flopping all over the place like fish in a boat after what they did in 2004 to John Kerry. It just once again shows what hypocrites they are. Karl Rove and Grover Norquist, two men never elected to anything, should be indicted for crimes against the nation.

    October 29, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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