July 6th, 2010
02:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Ohio Dems accuse Senate candidate of flip-flop

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/06/art.portmanad.0706.robportman.jpg caption="Ohio Senate candidate Rob Portman released an ad Tuesday that Democrats claim is hypocritical."](CNN) - Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman released a new TV commercial Tuesday touting his opposition to cap-and-trade language in new energy legislation, but Ohio Democrats quickly accused the former congressman of flip-flopping on the issue.

In the 30-second ad, Portman calls cap-and-trade "a new energy tax" that's "a job killer for Ohio."

"We're taxed turning on a light, using our computer, or even cooking dinner," Portman says.

But Democrats have latched onto two lines from a column penned by Portman when he was a congressman in 1996.

"Private sector incentives, such as permitting companies to trade discharge outputs, can both reduce pollution and costs," Portman wrote. "If we can harness the power of market incentives, we'll do more with less."

Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Haley Morris says that's a flip-flop.

"Just like the Big Bank Bailout, Congressman Portman was for Cap and Trade before he was against it," Morris said in a statement. "The only thing Ohioans learn about Congressman Portman from this ad is that his positions go whichever way the wind blows."

But Portman spokesperson Jessica Towhey said what the former congressman proposed is not the same as cap-and-trade, and points to another line from his column that indicates his stance has remained unchanged.

“Sometimes, one-size-fits-all environmental regulations from Washington are imposed at a huge cost to the economy with little or no benefit to the economy," Portman wrote.

"Seems pretty consistent with what he’s saying today," Towhey said. "The one-size-fits-all regulations is the definition of the cap-and-trade energy tax that’s supported by Lt. Gov. Fisher."

"Incentives are very different from the cap-and-trade plan, which calls for mandatory caps," Towhey said.

Climate change legislation has been stalled in the Senate after the House of Representatives passed its own energy bill last year. The House plan included the so-called cap-and-trade system in which a price is set for greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and polluters can obtain and trade credits for emissions over a set threshold. Most Republicans are against such a plan.

Portman will face off in the general election against Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. George Voinovich.

Filed under: 2010 • Lee Fisher • Ohio • Rob Portman
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Larry

    The whole Republican Party is hypocritical. Tell us something we don't know.

    July 6, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Joseph-Ohio

    Come on....I am a Dem, but this is a waste. Like the man cannot change opinions since 1996. How many of you feel the same way you did in 1996 about issues.....hmmmm....Not many!

    Come on people! Fight the battles that need a war.

    July 6, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel

    That's all the Dems have left...

    July 6, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Duck Fallas

    Worse, the ad infers that "cap and trade" is law and has resulted in 100,000 people losing their jobs. He is a liar.

    Nice haircut, though.

    July 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. anthony

    I hate to bring this up, but cap-and-trade was originally a Republican idea. In the 1980s, conservative economists came up with the idea of cap-and trade. They argued that cap-and-trade was superior to the "command-and-control" approach favored by liberals in the 1970s. In 2008, cap-and-trade was the central idea behind Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Warner’s (R-Va.) Climate Security Act. That was two years ago.

    Republicans opposing cap-and-trade is like Milt Romney opposing Obama's health care reform bill that was based on Romney's own Massachusetts plan, which in turn came from a proposal from the Heritage Foundation, a Republican think tank. Do Republicans have to oppose everything Obama does, even when the idea originally came from Republicans?

    July 6, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. thor

    Most democrats want to see some version of cap and trade legislation and that is whats important.This will cause people's energy bill to rise and cost the economy many jobs.Obama has said this himself in the past before he became president.But in Obama socialist utopia it doesn't matter.

    July 6, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    That's not even subtle flip-floppery. The distinction this buffoon's spokesperson tries to draw between the mandatory nature of cap and trade regulation and "incentives" is totally bogus. The only "incentives" energy companies understand are linked directly to their profit margin. Unless it's mandatory, they won't give a flying rat's pink patoot. As it is, we're right now watching the results of BP getting away with not following mandatory regulations during the last administration. So tell us, friendly neighborhood GOPercon ideologues, how exactly do you justify more of your deregulatory nonsense in the face of the problems AND COSTS caused by actual regulations going unenforced? There's functionally no difference, so what the rationalization? "Say anything"?

    July 6, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. snow

    Rob Portman suggested incentives not mandatory cap and tax as per the demorats. The demorats want to paint the Republican with the same liberal spending platform they have. Sorry Charlie, incentives differs from cap and tax like night and day.

    July 6, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Seth

    2 lines from 1996? What shovel did the Dems use to dig that up?

    They would do better to spend this time, sharpening their shovels,

    so they can dig a hole to bury themselves in... when we ditch all things


    July 6, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. What the?

    Come on...what a cadidate said 14 years ago is considered a flip flop. Beyond a pot calling the kettle black. The big picture that is lost is that our spending is out of control. It does not matter who caused the mess (Bush, Obama, God)...the problem is not cutting costs that will drive our country into the ground. Aruguements are made for more government regulations on this industry and that...but no one even comes up with enforing what laws we have on the books. In my mind, enforce what is written, then you can say if more regulation is need. More regulation does not mean anything if enforement is not made. It adds to the cost of everything.

    July 6, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Even Obama admits energy costs will skyrocket out of reach when this is passed. Forget it.

    July 6, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. jboh

    The best reason for NO Ohioan to EVER vote for any Ohio Republican can be summed-up in 2 words. BOB TAFT

    July 6, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Dave

    How pathetic. Offering incentives compared to forcing companies to pay based on mandatory caps is not even close to the same thing. Looks like the Democrat there is grasping by calling him a flip-flopper. Get a new original strategy.

    As far as cap-n-trade, it is a way for the government to make billions and gain more and more control over another industry. Nothing more nothing less.

    We need TRUE fiscal conservatives who believe in less spending, less taxes, and less government. We NEED to vote these morons out of office and repeal these dangerous, socialistic laws if they pass (like the health debacle)

    July 6, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Jim S

    did you ever meet a repukelican that wasnt for something before being against it or for it or against it or with it without it or something like it or
    are they just below something before being above it or I GIVE UP

    July 6, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Gil

    Republicans are just FLOPS- Not Filp -flops!

    July 6, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. A True Centrist

    I'm not a big fan of Portman but going back to comments made in 1996 sounds like desperation to me. The Ohio Dems need a new strategy and fast.

    July 6, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. 8 years of the Bush Error = How many years of recession and unemployment?

    You say patata, I say potato but it doesn't change the fact it is still a tuber.

    You goober.

    July 6, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. phoenix86

    That's right. Go with the Ohio democrats and put another nail into the coffin of Ohio's economy. Ohio doesn't need the jobs and really needs more taxes and less economic activity.

    July 6, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Let's vote all repugs out of office!!!

    Just another repug!!!

    Go Fisher 2010!

    July 6, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Mikey

    I am not a big one for jumping on people for "flip flops". Reasonable people change their viewpoints upon receiving new information, as conditions change, and sometimes with further reflection. Irrational people don't.

    However, the real issue here is that his 1996 statement properly characterizes what cap and trade really is, which unfortunately for the GOP, is in direct opposition to their current line of BS on this issue. Here it is again, just for emphasis:

    "Private sector incentives, such as permitting companies to trade discharge outputs, can both reduce pollution and costs," Portman wrote. "If we can harness the power of market incentives, we'll do more with less."

    I just wish the GOP would stop lying and start engaging in reasonable debate... and I wish the right wing populace would begin to critically analyze what the hear, rather than latching onto crud like "cap and tax" and "death panels".

    July 6, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Bob of Lompoc

    No surprise here – Republicans not being truthful. To borrow from a song of yesteryear:

    "You can't hide your lying eyes"
    Lying Eyes

    July 6, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    "Job Killer" . The new talking point of the GOP when discussing the complex subjects of energy & the environment. Repubs. like nothing better than a bumper sticker debate.

    July 6, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Well you NOW you are going to be taxed to death, when the Dems are in control. If Obama gets his way with illegal immigration, the Mexicans will keep him in power, and no one will have a choice.

    July 6, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    I am shocked! A republicant flip flopping or telling a lie to get votes? That just cant be true.

    July 6, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Jim

    Democrats need to quit running from energy policy. Cap and Trade, while not the best way to change our energy policy, is not something to be ashamed. Being a Republican on the other hand, is something to be ashamed of...

    July 6, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |