May 12th, 2008
10:08 AM ET
12 years ago

McCain appeals to independents with environment pitch


Watch John McCain’s new ad called A Better Way.

(CNN) - Kicking off a week-long push seen as outreach to independent and Democratic voters in crucial swing states, John McCain will deliver a speech in Portland, Oregon this morning outlining his vision for fighting global warming.

“We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great,” McCain will say, according to prepared remarks. “The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.”

McCain’s commitment to fight global warming puts him at odds with some Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration, which has not made climate change a top priority. His stance on carbon emissions places him closer on the environmental spectrum to Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

In his speech, the Arizona senator will propose capping carbon emissions incrementally, with the goal of returning to 1990 emission levels by the year 2020 using a cap-and-trade program. Such a program would cap greenhouse gas emissions at certain levels, and allow more efficient energy producers to sell off emissions permits to other, less efficient companies, thereby creating market-wide incentives to reduce carbon output.

McCain believes this system will encourage companies to seek out more efficient means of production.

“As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy,” he will say.

McCain has also released a TV ad in Oregon suggesting that climate change is behind deadly weather phenomena like hurricanes. The spot features a McCain voiceover saying, “It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue, it’s a national security issue.”

McCain will also speak about the environment on Tuesday in the neighboring state of Washington. Oregon and Washington among several potential battleground states in the West, including California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where voters count the environment as a top issue.

However, McCain is not completely breaking with more traditional Republican positions on environmental matters. He agrees with the Bush administration’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States has refused to ratify because large polluting nations like China and India are not obligated to reduce emissions.

McCain is also an ardent supporter of expanding the use nuclear power, a fact he mentions at nearly every campaign stop.

The Democratic National Committee is accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of hypocrisy on the energy issue, e-mailing reporters a list of McCain advisers who have served as lobbyists for the oil industry.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Tracy

    Travis- where do you get your global warming stats from? Fox News???? For your informaiton, the warmest year on record was 2007 followed by 2005 and the planet's temperatures have been steadly RISING since the turn of the century. Sorry to have to be the one to tell you TO PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Democrats in '08

    May 12, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. WHAT?!?!?

    Adam (the first comment),

    What is the logic behind your thought process? I cannot fathom that Democrats would rather vote against Obama, who shares very similar policy positions with Hillary Clinton. All in the name of vengeance? Wow.

    Where are your principals, Adam?
    Do you believe we should get out of Iraq or not?
    Do you believe in affordable healthcare for all Americans?
    Do you believe in protecting our environment?
    Do you believe in improving our public education system?
    Do you believe in any of the Democratic party's agenda?

    If you believe in these principals, which Democrats feel will lift up our country from the bottom up (starting with the least among us) then how could you sacrifice your beliefs and promise to vote McCain?
    That seems very silly and incredibly selfish – you are basically saying, "Sorry America... you won't get any improvements because I didn't get my candidate".

    How do you think you'll feel about your vote for McCain, when in 2012 we are still in Iraq, still have people buckling under the weight of medical bills they cannot afford, still have our government peering into the very privacy our soldiers fight to protect, still have a fumbling economy, still have CEOs laying off thousands of workers while collecting $100 million checks on their way out the door? How will you feel about your vote for McCain when, in 2012 we continue to argue about whether or not our foreign policies of going it alone have made us less safe?
    I could go on and on about all of the reasons it is so selfish of you and any other Hillary supporters to reject Obama in the fall. He shares her views on so many policy issues – it would only be a vote of spite to vote against Obama.
    Personally, I could never muster up the venom it must take to vote against my own self interest, and against the interest of my friends and neighbors. I'd rather support the cause, than one person. No politician is the end-all-be-all... even your precious Hillary.

    May 12, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Tammy - KCMO

    This independent will not be fooled by his talk. When he ran before I could have voted for him. Now I view him as out of touch and willing to say anything to get your vote.
    He's backed Bush in the war and has done nothing for the environment. Why would I believe him now?

    Voting for Obama!

    May 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. ted

    If anyone is setting us up for the bait and switch its Obama, He's spewing niave sweet nothings and idealistic promises like a student counsel president nominee. in the words of Pedro, Obama has embodied the "vote for me and your wildest dreams will come true" spirit.

    the only change will be its a different guy and different set of dashed hopes – yay!

    May 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Ian

    He supports the environment when it's convenient. The border fence that he supports is damaging wildlife and wetlands.

    May 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Ken

    Please, go back and read David (12:14). This s what we're all up against. The price of a gallon of gas will soon exceed the average IQ of the American voting public.

    May 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. sophia nyc


    War is harsh on the environment. 100 years of war even worse.

    May 12, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Kristy4Barack/Alabama

    McCain said Global Warming is a national security problem. Why? is everything he says pertain national security, yeah he really loosing his bearing. He is so war hungry, what in the Heck does this have to do with national security. Go Barr you might have a chance, because it's like McCain is sleepwalking. Obama 08

    May 12, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Tim

    Bush part two.

    May 12, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Ron

    Same as Hillary He will take up any issue to look like he is working for the good of our country. Pull out of Iraq and use those Billions of dollars to build solar and hydro power infastructure in this country.

    Go Obama 08

    May 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. People should think before they talk

    Paul May 12th, 2008 12:27 pm ET
    Hillary or McCain
    We need someone with experience in the White House
    Hillary we are with you all the way!!!
    They are forgetting about FLA and Michigan. When did they stop being part of the Union?
    HILLARY 08 yes she will!!!

    None of the candidates have PRESIDENTIAL experience, so stop with that argument. It's infinitely different from any experience all three have.

    Florida and Michigan have been stripped of their delegates for a reason, maybe if you kept up with the news, you'd realize that. They decided to go against the rules, they knew the consequences. Hillary did too, when she thought they wouldn't matter because she was so far ahead, but now that she's behind, she (and those like you) are crying for them.

    Hillary or McCain? The only thing they have in common is invading Iran. Maybe you should stop voting based off of emotion and actually give an educated vote.

    May 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Love My USA

    I wish McCain, would speak out, so it is straight talk from his heart. I watch and want to pull the words out of his mouth..
    Talk about how hard it is for the Senior's who do not have a Pension, only Social Security, Talk about the drugs in this country that are killing our childresn, talk about securing the boarders, talk straight about how important for our country security to keep our troops in this war of hatred for the American people. Talk about how the Democrat Congress and Senate for the past two years contributed to many of our issues today. McCain is a good honest man, but he has to speak louder and harder in making the American people believe that he is the right choice for President.

    You can do it, I know you can...


    May 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Tim

    Adam: Hillary plays the sex card all the time, and didnt she lie about some snipers or somthing. She has not been robbed she has been beat.

    May 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Bobo

    We should bring Chile up on charges! How dare they let that volcano spew all of that carbon into the atmosphere. If I die before I'm 100, my blood is on their hands!

    May 12, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Carl from Dallas

    Congrats to the environmentalists. The true people to blame for the gasoline problem in this country. If a country like Norway can drill anywhere they want with the environmentalist activities they have, then why are we so stupid to not drill when prices are so high?

    May 12, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Tim

    Sorry Billary. You and all of the manly girls will have to wait four more years. IT'S OVER!!!!!

    May 12, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Randy - Denver

    This independant is for Mr. Obama, but can see where Mr. McCain could win my support. You see it is about INTEGRITY, it is about BEING WILLING TO COMPROMISE. Ms. Clinton has shwon me she has little integrity in her campoaign against Mr. Obama. She has shwon me she is a fighter, but we do not need a "fighter" one who cannot see past their own desire for a "win" we need a LEADER on who is willing to talk to the enemy and make things better, one who can listen to differing points of view, see the positive in each point of view and who can then reach a concensus and/or comprimise to do what is best for ALL people. We need someone who can look past party loyalty and personal layalty for what is best for the ENTIRE country. For me, as an independant, who knows NO candidate will accomplish all they set out to do exactly as they hope to have it done, I cherish INTERGIRTY, LEADERSHIP and COMPROMISE the most. Right now I support the candidate who embodies these characteristics most (albiet to me personally) but am willing to consider another. So for now Mr. Obama is my candidate but Mr. McCain is someone I could live with.

    May 12, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. andrew

    Mc cain and his party should start the fight, Oh wait you have to be to nice to obo. Just listen to these little babies that follow him. Tear him apart!!!!!!!!

    May 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Be careful, McCain. You could get e.coli from all that B.S. you've been shoveling! 😉

    May 12, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Mike - Texas

    I can hardly wait for Rev. Wright's book to come out in September.

    It should be good reading!!!

    May 12, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. very smart lady

    Arrogant, smirking lying Jerk Obama will never get our votes. We want Hillary, we want Hillary, we want Hillary!!! You idiotic Obamanities will see.

    May 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Kate

    Are you kidding me? I hope Americans are not only insulted by motivated by these pathetic obvious pandering. This man represents the party most responsible for Global Warming. He has stood by an administration that has all but wiped out any plan of action set into place by previous administrations. He stood by and watched the funding get cut and cut until there was practically nothing left. He stood by a president who does not have faith in Science but would rather we pray to some invisible being in the sky who will save us. He stood by an administration that lobbied to drill in lands inhabited by nearly extinct animals. TOO LITTLE TOO LATE.

    May 12, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. toby hill

    When gas hits $10.00 a gallon and people are paying 3 times todays prices to cool or heat their homes none of this environmental pandering by any of the three candidates will mean a thing. The President and congress will then have to explain why they should continue with the ban on certain domestic drilling and refining because "saving the earth" will no longer be a relevant argument over the immediate needs of people. We are at least 15 years from having enough alternative energy to become even 30% less reliant on fossil fuels. No matter who gets elected they will serve no more than 4 years before people will have had enough of the environmental bull and throw their cans out of office. Jimmy Carter got booted in the election mainly because of energy cost and it will be no different with this next president.

    May 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Hillary or McCain

    I would normally never even listen to anything a Republican has to say, but I have been listening to John McCain, and I like what he has to say a whole lot more than I like Obama's empty promises with no real solutions. I was originally going to vote for McCain just out of spite because I think Hillary is the best choice for this country, and I don't like how the Democrats and the media have pushed her aside in favor of an unknown speech-giver with no experience, but after actually listening to McCain with an open mind, I have to say I will vote for him because I think that after Hillary, he's the best choice for this country.

    If Hillary concedes, I will no longer consider myself a Democrat, will switch to an Independent, and vote for McCain in November. Obama stole my Florida vote for Hillary, and he'll have to be satisfied with that. He won't get anything else from me, nor will I ever contribute to the Democratic Party again.

    May 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Whiskey

    I love how all thes "if not Hillary then McCain" fools are saying that Obama can not win in November. As she could, Look there is a reason why she is not winning the election you morons and you think she could win in November. She cant even win the primary.

    May 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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