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LCV Statement on First GOP Primary Debate

Contact: Seth Stein, (202) 454-4573 or

August 6, 2015  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the first Republican primary debate for president, LCV Vice President of Campaigns Dan Weiss issued the following statement:

“The Republican presidential candidates had an opportunity tonight to listen to their constituents and put forth their plan to combat climate change, protect public health, and grow the economy. Instead, this debate barely addressed the critical issue of climate change, even when recent polling shows a majority of Republican primary voters in early states want their candidates to propose clean energy plans.  We are disappointed in the candidates tonight and urge them to accept the settled science of climate change and start offering their plans to address one of the biggest challenges of our time.”

Below, please find a compilation of statements made during tonight’s debate on energy and the environment.

Bill Hemmer: Senator Lindsey Graham, you worked with Democrats and Republicans and president Obama when it came to climate change, something you know is extremely unpopular with conservative Republicans. How can they trust you based on that record?

Sen. Lindsey Graham: You can trust me to do the following – that when I get on the stage with Hillary Clinton, we won’t be debating about the science. We’ll be debating about the solutions. In her world, cap-and-trade would dominate. That will destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. In my world, we’ll focus on energy independence and a clean environment. When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less. Over time, we’re going to become energy independent. I’m tired of sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts. The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice. That is not the choice I’ll offer America. A healthy environment, a strong economy and an energy independent America – that would be the purpose of my presidency. To break the stranglehold that people enjoy on fossil fuels who hate our guts.

Chris Wallace: In 2010, you promised that you would create 250,000 new jobs in your first term – first four years. In fact, Wisconsin added half that, and ranked 35th in the country in job growth. Now you’re running for president, and promising an economic plan in which everyone will earn a piece of the American Dream. Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?

Gov. Scott Walker: Well, the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time, because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low. Before I came in, the unemployment rate was over 8 percent. It’s now down to 4.6 percent. We’ve more than made up for jobs that were lost during the recession, and the rate at which people are working is almost 5 points higher than it is nationally. People like Hillary Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington. One report last year showed that six of the top ten wealthiest counties in America were in or around Washington DC.  I think most of us in America understand that people, not the government creates jobs. One of the best things we can do is get the government out of the way: repeal Obamacare, reign in all the out of control regulations, put in place an all of the above energy policy, give people the education and skills they need to succeed, and lower the tax rate and reform tax code. That's what I’ll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin.

Chris Wallace: Governor Bush, I’m going to start with you. you've made a bold promise in your announcement. You have promised 4% economic growth and 19 million new jobs if you are fortunate enough to serve two terms as president. That many jobs, 19 million, would be triple what your father and your brother accomplished together. And 4% growth – the last president to average that was Lyndon Johnson during the height of the Vietnam War. So, question. How on earth specifically would you pull that off? 

Jeb Bush: We've done it 27 times since World War II. I think we need to lift our spirits and have high lofty expectations for this great country of ours. The new normal of 2%, that the left is saying, you can't do anything about, is so dangerous for our country. There are 6 million people living in poverty today. More than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part time, most of whom want to work full time. We've created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people. The net result is we're not growing fast. Income is not growing. A 4% growth strategy means you fix a convoluted tax code. You get in and change every aspect of regulations that are job killers. You get rid of Obamacare and replace with it something that doesn't suppress wages and kill jobs. You embrace the energy revolution in our country. This president and Hillary Clinton who can't even say she is for the XL pipeline even after she's left? Give me a break. Of course we're for it. We should be for these things to create high sustained economic growth.


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