Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.
In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."
At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? "Slow down our economy"?
I don't really think there's much debate that, at least initially, a full commitment to reduce greenhouse gases would slow down the economy….So was this a moment of candor?
He went on to say that his the U.S. -- and those countries that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases -- could ultimately increase jobs and raise wages with a good energy plan..
So there was something of a contradiction there.
Or perhaps he mis-spoke.
Or perhaps this characterization was a description of what would happen if there isn't a worldwide effort…I'm not quite certain.
It's worth watching -- he also pushed back against a 9/11 conspiracy theorist heckling him.
"Everybody knows that global warming is real," Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize, "but we cannot solve it alone."
"And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada -- the rich counties -- would say, 'OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.' We could do that.
"But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.
"And guess what? The only places in the world today in rich countries where you have rising wages and declining inequality are places that have generated more jobs than rich countries because they made a commitment we didn't. They got serious about a clean, efficient, green, independent energy future… If you want that in America, if you want the millions of jobs that will come from it, if you would like to see a new energy trust fund to finance solar energy and wind energy and biomass and responsible bio-fuels and electric hybrid plug-in vehicles that will soon get 100 miles a gallon, if you want every facility in this country to be made maximally energy efficient that will create millions and millions and millions of jobs, vote for her. She'll give it to you. She's got the right energy plan."
In other Bubba News, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, told the spectacular Kate Snow yesterday that this is her campaign, not Bill's, and told Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden last night that she can control him.
(Which begs the question -- does she want to slow down the economy?)
UPDATE: Not so difficult to predict -- the RNC just issued a statement in response to the former President's comment.
“Senator Clinton’s campaign now says we must ‘slow down the economy’ to stop global warming," said Alex Conant, RNC Spokesman. "Clinton needs to come back to Earth. Her ‘tax-it, spend-it, regulate-it’ attitude would really bring the economy crashing down. No amount of special effects will hide Clinton’s liberal record.”
Sen. Clinton's campaign, meanwhile, has a new TV ad (watch it HERE) that calls her "the person you can depend on to fix the economy and protect our future."
UPDATE 2: The original headline of this post was too definitive, while the larger blog post tried to express that I wasn't sure just what Clinton meant by his statement. So I changed the headline to reflect that. I understand after many, many emails that many folks think I misunderstood what the President was saying.