Previewing McCain's environment speech, Reuters did not mention his voting record or include criticisms of his positions

Previewing McCain's environment speech, Reuters did not mention his voting record or include criticisms of his positions

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain would pledge "to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush." However, in reporting on McCain's environmental positions that his campaign believes will "win support from independents and centrist Democrats," Reuters did not mention his voting record and did not include any criticism of McCain's positions. By contrast, The Washington Post noted that "McCain's lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is 24 percent, compared with 86 for Obama and 86 for Clinton."

In a May 12 article, Reuters previewed Sen. John McCain's speech scheduled for that day and reported that he would pledge "to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush." However, in reporting on McCain's prepared remarks and environmental positions that his campaign believes will "win support from independents and centrist Democrats," Reuters did not mention his voting record and did not include any criticism of McCain's positions. By contrast, The Washington Post noted in a May 12 article that "an examination of McCain's voting record shows an inconsistent approach to the environment: He champions some 'green' causes while casting sometimes contradictory votes on others." Further, the Post noted that "McCain's lifetime League of Conservation Voters [LCV] score is 24 percent, compared with 86 for Obama and 86 for Clinton."

In the May 12 Post article -- headlined "Environmental Stances Are Balancing Act For McCain" -- staff writer Juliet Eilperin wrote that "McCain has made the environment one of the key elements of his presidential bid. ... But an examination of McCain's voting record shows an inconsistent approach to the environment: He champions some 'green' causes while casting sometimes contradictory votes on others." From the article:

The senator from Arizona has been resolute in his quest to impose a federal limit on greenhouse gas emissions, even when it means challenging his own party. But he has also cast votes against tightening fuel-efficiency standards and resisted requiring public utilities to offer a specific amount of electricity from renewable sources. He has worked to protect public lands in his home state, winning a 2001 award from the National Parks Conservation Association for helping give the National Park Service some say over air tours around the Grand Canyon, work that prompts former interior secretary and Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt to call him "a great friend of the canyon." But he has also pushed to set aside Endangered Species Act protections when they conflict with other priorities, such as the construction of a University of Arizona observatory on Mount Graham.

[...]

As a result, McCain scores significantly lower than his Democratic rivals for the presidency, Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), in interest groups' studies of his environmental voting record. McCain's lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is 24 percent, compared with 86 for Obama and 86 for Clinton; Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's conservation report card gave him 38 percent in the 108th Congress and 40 in the 109th. (McCain has missed every major environmental vote this Congress, giving him a zero rating.)

When [League of Conservation Voters President Gene] Karpinski tells audiences about McCain's environmental scorecard rating, he said, "jaws drop. ... I tell them, 'He's not as green as you think he is.' "

Additionally, in a May 12 USA Today article, reporter David Jackson noted McCain's LCV rating and wrote that Karpinski "said it appears that McCain 'hopes to use global warming and the environment to distance himself from the Bush administration,' but given McCain's record, 'that distance can be measured in inches.' " Jackson also reported that the "Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, is challenging McCain's credentials as an environmentalist. It developed a list of McCain supporters who have lobbied for oil companies or run companies that have been cited for pollution. DNC Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement that McCain would 'appoint right-wing judges bent on gutting environmental regulations.' "

In addition to his LCV score, McCain received a score of 40 percent in the Defenders of Wildlife's "Conservation Report Card" for the 109th Congress, while Obama and Clinton both received scores of 82 percent. For the 108th Congress, McCain received a 38 percent score on the organization's report card, while Clinton scored 100 percent. According to Defenders of Wildlife, McCain, Clinton, and Obama did not vote enough to receive an official score for the 110th Congress; however, McCain has a lifetime rating of 39 percent, while Clinton's lifetime rating is 92 percent and Obama, 85 percent.

From the May 12 Reuters article:

Republican John McCain pledged to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush.

In remarks he prepared to give at a wind technology firm in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, the Arizona senator said he would seek international accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would offer an incentive system to make businesses in the United States cleaner.

"The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington," McCain said in remarks he planned to give at the Vestas Wind Technology plant.

[...]

The speech set McCain apart from fellow Republican Bush, who has been skeptical about global warming throughout his eight-year term, and was calibrated to win support from independents and centrist Democrats he will need to convince to win office in the November election.

"I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges," he added.

If elected president, McCain said he would push for "meaningful environmental protocols" that included developing industrial powers India and China, to seek to cut worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

He planned to present a so-called cap and trade system to Congress that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gas emissions for U.S. businesses, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions, so as to "change the dynamic" of the U.S. energy economy.

Posted In
Elections, Environment & Science, Climate Change, Conservation
Network/Outlet
Associated Press, Reuters
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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