In Debate Preview, CNN's Smerconish Asks If Climate Change Stance Will “Catch Up With The GOP”

During CNN coverage previewing the network's December 15 Republican debate, CNN's Michael Smerconish contrasted the fact that all 195 nations in the world reached an historic agreement to tackle climate change with a recent poll showing that 57 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa say that “climate change is a hoax.” Smerconish asked Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer if he is concerned about “brand damage harming [GOP candidates] down ballot,” and whether issues like climate change and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. could “catch up with the GOP come the fall.” Later, Smerconish noted that when it comes to climate change, “there's a huge disconnect between what's going on in the nation and what's going on with this incarnation of the Republican Party.”

Indeed, unlike GOP caucusgoers in Iowa and GOP presidential candidates themselves, most Americans support both an international climate agreement requiring emission cuts and the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, the cornerstone of America's commitment to addressing climate change. CNN debate moderators Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash should take this opportunity to follow Smerconish's lead and press the candidates on how they plan to appeal to general election voters who strongly disagree with them on climate change.

From CNN's GOP debate preview coverage, which aired during the December 14 editions of Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight: