On climate change, Dems and Perry find Romney shifting
October 28th, 2011
04:57 PM ET
11 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. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Does Mittens even believe himself. If he cannot grow a spine, and stand for something, he will be the biggest loser in 2012.

    October 28, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittsy is not much into science anymore. He used to be credible, but now, he is a flip-flopping buffoon.

    October 28, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens has shown he lacks a leadership qualities.

    October 28, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    "Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is ..." Keep talking Mitt - it serves you well. BTW: Has Mitt Romney ever released his medical records? Seriously. Lately, he's been coming across as two steps shy of dementia.

    October 28, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Tony

    Well well well. Romney is changing positions again. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that Romney's position on climate change had changed in the last few months. Nowadays, when Republicans and Democrats agree on something, you know it must be true.

    October 28, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Maybe the bigger threat is all the hot air coming from career politicians who are desperate to hold on to power.""

    Or, you know, it could be the methane-filled verbal farts emanating from the CAREER CANDIDATE who is desperately seeking power and saying whatever he thinks will be best received by his target voting audience in order to get it.

    October 28, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    Willard has been practicing for years just for this moment. The only thing he can't practice is the one-on-one he'll face on a national stage with President Obama. Willard will be exposed real fast as our president has REAL experience on a national stage and is one hell of a debater. Willard on the other hand is like a ugly woman on an island surrounded by only men. She looks good because she is the ONLY woman. Willard ONLY looks good because the other clowns look so bad. Don't be fooled – Willard is a con man of the highest degree. Take everything and give nothing that's the Romney way.

    October 28, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Romney's flipflopping is akin to McCain's: both men have sold their soul and integrity to Karl Rove in the hopes of securing the GOP nomination. Both lack courage, conviction and leadership abilities. Both are an embarrassment to the GOP.

    On the upside, I'm a lifelong Democrat and enjoy watching the GOP circus!

    October 28, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. SecedingfromTexas

    Rick Perry needs to 'move on'. He doesn't believe in "science", he certainly doesn't care about the environment,
    as seen by his his 'drill baby drill' in every corner of the United States and all waters available, he wants to eliminate the EPA, he 'luvs' fracking, then helps his friends get rights to clean the poisonous water than comes from fracking,
    which is also hazardous to clean water for towns, ranchers' ponds for cattle, etc. This guy has more problems
    than not being able to debate.
    and he wants that oil money.

    October 28, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Dan J

    Don't know how Perry can chastise Romney of flip-flopping, when Perry himself has changed PARTIES. That is one big flip-flop. He was campaign manager for Al Gore of all people! So to accuse Romney of "shifting," it only shows Perry's own hypocrisy.

    October 28, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Teatrolls: "Squeal like a piggeh!"

    Mittens: "Ooooh joy, can I? Sooooey!!!! Soooooey!!! Should I pull my pants down ad bend over this log too? This is sooooo fun I can hardly stand it!!!"

    October 28, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Sorensen

    He is a slick management consultant from Bain. What do you expect?

    October 28, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Neshee

    Yet another desperate attempt by the Perry field to distract voters that he doesn't have any ideas and that the GOP is full of bickering. I'm glad to stand behind Mitt Romney. He has what it takes to turn the economy around. The flip-flopping is the failed attempt by democrats to do what the republicans did to Kerry in 2004. "Nice try"-Mitt Romney

    October 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. Gemini Girl

    Mitt will probably be the last one standing, but he won't be able to get away from his constant flip/flop/flip/flops. Also that picture of MONEY sticking out of his suit when he was with BAIN, the company that purchased smaller companies & dismantled them and sold them again, sending alot of jobs overseas. If the President is smart, his campaign people will make use of these things. The flavor-of-the-month, CAIN, will go down soon. So far, Perry & Bachmann's time has come and gone. Soon it will be Ron Paul's, and then hopefully JON HUNTSMAN. Never mind about Newt. He is not worth it, total hypocrit and the meanest of all the candidates.

    October 28, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |

    well i don't know about them but i just thank they .all are nuts none of them have brains to lead our country . they not one of them can hold oboma a light to see by.

    October 28, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Gemini Girl

    WHAT AMERICANS NEED TO begin focusing on is the REPUBLICANS' attempts to thwart the voting registrations. Yes, they are attempting to block voter registering in most of the states. That would most affect the younger voters, the older voters, and the minority. Folks we need to read up on this, reports say this could affect five million people, and you know primarily which party they would be voting for, it would be the Democratic party. THAT IS EXACTLY WHY THIS VOTER SUPPRESSION IS HAPPENING!

    October 28, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |

    i can't see any one them GOPs get voted in becouse we get any more of them in to say no every time some body trys to help the country they say no.

    October 28, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. AlaskaPalin

    MYTH Romney will never rise above 40% of the popular votes. Its a MYTH if anyone believes he will beat Obama. Emotionally Perry should be the nominee. Notice Perry moves to lower expectations where the debates are concern. MYTH Romney = Barrack Obama!.

    October 28, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    Willard needs to keep his mouth shut.

    October 28, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. dialogue

    Thank god there is a politician that is analytical instead of black and white: He knows the difference between belief and facts and won't spend money on a belief. That is not flip flopping it is intelligence. I'm starting to like this guy.

    October 28, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Debbie

    Mitt the Artful Dodger Flip-Flopper.

    October 28, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. jamison

    Its time Romney changed his name to SHIFTY. That is all he ever does on any subject.

    October 28, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. DocinPA

    This guy absolutely refuses to take a stand on anything without leaving a door open to justify a different opinion with each different audience.

    October 28, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    Well, Mitt, we know you don't know. who knows if you know anything. but can you possiblty conceive of the possibility that other people know something you don't know? you know, like, oh, i don't know, CLIMATE SCIENTISTS WHO HAVE DEVOTED THEIR LIVES TO STUDYING AND UNDERSTANDING WHY CLIMAT CHANGE IS HAPPENING?????????? the most dangerous effect of republicanism is the culture of discarding facts if they don't suit your philosophy. it's like if you don't know something, no one does. no, Mittens, just becuase you don't know something, that just makes you ignorant. and if you don't want to know something, that makes you stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 28, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  25. tcaros

    Romney always flip flops. He's a Mormon and they actually teach that stuff to their followers. They teach them to never disagree when you are trying to convert someone to the cult. This means always shift your opinoun based upon the situation to get what you want.

    October 28, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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