May 12th, 2010
08:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Kerry, Lieberman team up to push climate change bill, talk politics

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sens. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts (left), and Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut (right), introduced a sweeping energy and climate change bill Wednesday."]Washington (CNN) - Two senators, one a former presidential nominee and the other a previous vice-presidential nominee, weighed in Wednesday on the nation’s current political environment – and their bill to stem global warming and create energy-related jobs.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut talked about these and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

The senators discussed their proposal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and setting energy policy for the 21st century during the interview that aired on CNN’s John King, USA.

Senior leaders in the Democratic and Republican parties told CNN that, while the sweeping energy and climate change bill is admirable, it’s unlikely to garner enough Senate votes to pass this year. Both senators told King they disagree.

“Well, we believe that as people see who is supporting this bill, the breadth of the support that it has, the urgency for shifting America's energy dependency, making America more secure, creating millions of jobs, you know, there's a compelling reason to do this bill that has nothing to do with politics,” Kerry said. “It strengthens America.”

The bill could ignite a political battle similar to the recent fight over health care. Given that possibility, some Democrats are skittish about being pulled into another fight that could cost the party valuable political capital ahead of the November midterm elections.

Lieberman directly addressed that concern, telling King, “I think, what we're going to argue, that this bill is the best thing members of Congress could pass that would actually create jobs here in America. I mean it not only stops the flow of dollars out of our country to … buy foreign oil, it stops the flow of new energy jobs out of America to places like China.”

“There's another clock ticking here besides the election,” Lieberman added. “And it's the clock that goes off on January 1 next year, when the Environmental Protection Agency has the power and has promised to begin to regulate greenhouse gas emissions - carbon pollution - by executive order.”

After discussing energy and the environment, both senators talked about the contentious political environment ahead of the midterm elections.

Kerry has endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania as he battles Rep. Joe Sestak in a Democratic primary that’s frequently been heated ahead of the May 18 primary. In an especially controversial ad released in April, Specter’s campaign questioned Sestak’s military record – alleging that the former three-star Navy admiral was “relieved of duty in the Navy for creating a poor command climate." That charge caused Sestak to accuse Specter of employing "swift boat" tactics.

Kerry, the target of what many called “swift boating” as the 2004 Democratic nominee, explained his support for Specter and his displeasure with hearing the oft-used political phrase.

“I vouched for Senator Specter's character, which was under attack,” Kerry said. “I didn't think I … started getting involved in the race directly. In fact, I very specifically said I do not want to be the arbiter of ‘swift boating’ in America. And my crew and I would love it if that term were given back the honor and the appropriate place that it deserves. It is not a political term, it's an experience - and a meaningful one.”

Lieberman, Al Gore’s Democratic running mate in the 2000 campaign, also weighed in on the current political mood.

“What I see going on is a lot of people in our country who are anxious about our future, particularly economically, who are angry that people in Washington seem to spend most of their time in irrelevant partisan political fights,” said Lieberman, who ran and won as an Independent for his Senate seat in 2006 after losing the Connecticut’s Democratic primary.

Lieberman added, “I think the net effect of that is that every incumbent in either party up for election this year is anxious now. … And in the Republican Party, they see the Tea Party coming on with real energy and - and force and are worried about what change that portends for the party.”

“So ... the way I put it is, the established political order in America is under attack by people who are dissatisfied with the way people in office have handled their lives and their country,” he said.

Filed under: Energy • JKUSA • Joe Lieberman • John Kerry • John King USA
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. ib

    Another disaster for the working man in the making. How stupid to even bring up a bill like this on an unproven theory. yes I said unproven. By the way; just saw pictures of Gore's new house in Calif. sure looks like he is concerned about global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it.

    May 12, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. southern cousin

    Just wondering why CNN is covering this, rather than the lack of response by the administration, in particular, the slimy, corrupt liar in chief to the suffering and problems being experienced by the people of Tennessee? The only thing we can surmise that it is because of his racist partisanship, and of course CNN and the rest of the liberal toady main stream media are enabling this. Now if it was a majority black city, or Democratic leaning state, tears would be flowing from his face every day.

    May 12, 2010 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. Get A Grip

    I have a great idea. If these politicians that are worth millions and live in HUGE homes would move into homes.... say 2500 sq. ft. they wouldn't use so much energy to heat and cool their homes, thus 'stem global warming'......AND how about that Al Gore's new little vacation home worth 9 MILLION dollars. Bet that baby isn't cheap to cool and heat. Awwww yes, just love these politicians that want us all to do our part, but when it comes for them to do their part....they don't!

    May 12, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. thor

    There are a lot of issues with nuclear energy that these Senators are just dismissing.What do they propose to do with the nuclear waste?What about the safety issues surrounding this source of energy? What about the letigation that is starting to mount to wind farms like the ones in Maryland and also West Virginia?These Senators act like this climate bill is not going to cause a lot of concerns among people that do worry about protecting our environment while at the same time addressing concerns about our appetite for energy.

    May 12, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Peter E

    I am an average Joe who dropped out of high school but I think I am smarter than all scientists put together because I listen to Foxnews and Rush Limbaugh! I felt cold today and that's proof that global warming is a lie! In fact it's also proof that scientists' theory of seasons is wrong! My intuition and my knowledge of what little I remember from high school science classes makes me a greater authority than professors who spent decades analysing data! Oh, and I also heard that some short phrases from e-mails by one scientist taken out of context and editorialized by pundits prove that ALL scientists lie!

    May 12, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    If they run bills the same way they ran their presidential candidacies then look forward to having the 'climate' bill be just copied from republican talking points before epicly failing!

    May 12, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. Ken

    Goodbye jobs; hello high prices. Every place this has been tried its failed. Don't just listen to Obama, do the research yourself.

    May 13, 2010 02:34 am at 2:34 am |