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Hillary and Climate Change: Securing Al Gore’s Endorsement

Last week Former Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on raising awareness about global warming.  This will most certainly put the environmental issue to the forefront of the political debate in the presidential race and given Gore’s political affiliation it would do so squarely on the democratic side.

So far Democratic candidates have failed to capitalize on the issue of climate change and have been more inclined to talk about energy independence as a way to reach younger voters and to sound tough on environmental matters.  Only John Edwards has made climate change a core issue of his presidential campaign.  In the other camp, most Republican candidates (with the exception of John McCain) acknowledge only grudgingly that climate change even exists, and when forced to do so, they question the validity of the data which points to human activity as the most likely cause.  They would rather focus on terrorism and immigration.

Hillary Clinton has made the environment an important part of her presidential campaign; but mostly in writing.  Her campaign website states that she “recognizes that global climate change is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time and supports policies to reduce carbon emissions and other pollution that contribute to global warming.”  But the issue of global warming is in fact secondary to that of energy independence for which she proposes a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund to spur research in alternative energies.

So how can Hillary become the champion of the environmental issue in general and of global warming and climate change in particular?  The answer is rather obvious: secure Al Gore’s endorsement.  Such an endorsement would bring the campaign an unchallengeable credibility on this issue and give it high visibility with the segment of the electorate for which the environment is the key issue of this election.  Moreover, such an endorsement would accomplish a lot more: it would ensures that Al Gore stays out of the presidential race and would end the speculations about his possible candidacy; it would have somewhat of a carry over effect on his supporters as he currently runs fourth on most national polls in the democratic race at 13% just below Edwards; and would help heal the rift with the Clintons created by his presidential run in 2000.

Securing Al Gore’s endorsement is by no means a done deal.  Some political observers think he may not err on Hillary’s side primarily because of his decision to distance himself from Bill Clinton in his presidential campaign.  On the positive side, he has repeatedly denied that he has any plans to run again and has done so in spite of the relative success of the “Draft Gore” grass roots campaign and also in spite of the indirect endorsement of former President Jimmy Carter.  Furthermore, he has also hinted that he would likely endorse one of the Democratic candidates for president and would do so before the primary season.

Therefore, Gore’s endorsement is a distinct possibility.  It should be well timed and should come immediately after December 10, the actual date of the Nobel Price award ceremony.  The coverage of that ceremony will bring once again media attention to this subject and would give Hillary’s campaign an extra boost just ahead of the first round of primaries.  A December endorsement, while late in the primary game, would also give Hillary the chance to bridge whatever differences she may have with Gore and secure his support.  It would also help her frame the upcoming debate on the environment with whomever the Republican nominee may be.

Publicat în : English  de la numărul 52
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