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Biden: We Don't Support Clean Coal; Obama: Yeah, Actually We Do

While reading Sarah Palin's interview with Fox News' favorite college dropout, I came across something of interest regarding drilling in Alaska:
Palin: I support drilling in Alaska because it’s going to be good for our nation and our nation’s--

Hannity: Including ANWR?

Palin: Absolutely. ANWR is a 2,000 acre plot of land and it’s a 20 million acre plot of land...But, no secret, John McCain and I agree to disagree on that one. And I’m going to keep working on him with ANWR...we must start taking the steps to get [energy independent]. That’s why he has embraced offshore drilling. That’s why he has embraced the ideal of the alternative fuels also. And I’ll keep working on him with ANWR.
Let me start by saying this. There are rational positions about which people with different values and political perspectives can differ. Then, there are irrational positions, which are driven either by the interests of powerful lobbies (read: environmentalists) or perhaps simply unchecked emotion. Opposition to drilling in ANWR can be classified as the latter.

The area in question is about the size of Los Angeles International Airport, and LAX isn't even one of the nation's largest; you could practically fit it inside Dallas-Fort Worth.


And don't get me started on the myth of threatened caribou populations. Since construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the amount of caribou increased more than ten times over, a jump largely attributed to the warmth of the pipeline. If you were a caribou, where would you rather get it on with your old lady - under a nice hot pipe, or in the freezing cold snow?

After reading her statement, I thought to myself, "Gee, imagine that...Palin openly says that John McCain has something completely wrong, and is going to "work on him" to change his mind. Is there anything Joe Biden thinks Barack Obama has completely wrong? Any particular issue over which Joe wants to "keep working on him?"

I couldn't think of a single issue on which the 1st and 3rd most liberal senators would disagree. But then, as if Delaware's own gaffe-master was reading my thoughts, Biden dropped this bomb:



It would be one thing if he said, "While my running mate supports clean coal, I personally am not in favor of it, and will work to have the voices of people like you and me heard in an Obama administration." But notice the statement, "we're not supporting clean coal," which is in direct contradiction to Obama's stated energy plan. From Messiah's website:
Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.

Obama’s Department of Energy will enter into public private partnerships to develop five “first-of-a-kind” commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology.
Either Joe has been too busy reviewing his IQ tests to remember which ticket he's on (which doesn't seem likely given that McCain also supports clean coal), or this is all part of some grand scheme to have the wicked witch of the East River jump aboard the ship Biden is hopelessly trying to sink with comments like these.

Come to think of it, this is probably in the same category as Biden's admission that the Obama ad lambasting McCain for his inability to magically make his bones work was "terrible." He even added some of that trademark Barack "nuance" when he implied that Barack Obama didn't approve a message that ended with the words "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message."

Suddenly, Caribou Barbie no longer looks like the most detrimental VP pick of this election.

Update: The McCain campaign has already pounced:
As part of John McCain’s “all of the above” energy plan, the Lexington Project, clean coal will be a strong component of the drive to energy independence. In addition to providing domestic energy, the coal industry is a key part of the economy in several states.

John McCain’s support for clean coal technology is in sharp contrast to that of his opponents. Joe Biden visited Virginia on Saturday, saying that he was a “hard-coal miner” and that it was “nice to be back in coal country” while Obama supporter, Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) said “Senator Obama’s a friend of coal.” But just two days later in Ohio, Senator Biden said he wants “no coal plants here in America” and that he and Senator Obama are “not supporting clean coal.”
Update: Check out this adorable little bit of spin from the Obama campaign on the issue of Biden's comments. Again, remember what Biden said: "we're not supporting clean coal."
“Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama and Senator Biden support clean coal technology,” says Biden spokesman David Wade. “Senator Biden’s point is that China is building coal plants with outdated technology every day, and the United States needs to lead by developing clean coal technologies."
So the Obama campaign has now said that despite Biden's own words to the contrary, he really does support clean coal. Can you imagine if McCain had made the same statement, and his McCain tried to play it off as if he just "misspoke?" He'd be accused of being a senile old man unfit for the presidency. And what if Sarahcuda misstated one of John McCain's positions? It would be another reason to paint her as an "irresponsible" pick.

So while we don't know whether Biden supports clean coal, what if the coal is both clean and articulate?

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  • Anonymous Anonymous said:
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008  

    Why is the media so up in arms about an off-the-cuff comment Biden made while they’re not reporting anything about McCain’s long-term and sustained attack on coal jobs?
    John McCain has been on the attack against the coal industry for years, starting with legislation he proposed in 2003–Senate Bill 139, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003–that would have just about wiped out the coal industry in the United States.
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration released an analysis of S. 139 in May, 2004, which said the reductions in coal production under the McCain legislation was estimated to be 78 percent by 2025. Since it takes coal miners to produce coal, that would mean a drastic reduction in employment, most of which would have fallen heavily on more labor-intensive mines like we have in Appalachia.
    But Sen. McCain was just getting warmed up. He teamed up with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) just last year and proposed climate change legislation–Senate Bill 280–that once again took a meat-axe approach to Appalachian coal. In that bill, McCain specifically targeted Appalachian coal production for cuts of 30 percent or more, while encouraging production of coal from Wyoming, according to an analysis done of the legislation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    Both Obama and McCain have proposed a variety of solutions to dealing with energy issues. They both say that they want to reduce reliance on foreign sources of energy and build an infrastructure in America that relies on a mix of sources to meet the ever-expanding energy needs of our nation, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gases.
    But the devil is in the details, and once again Sen. McCain doesn’t measure up when it comes to the potential for coal–our nation’s most abundant energy resource–to continue to be the major contributor to meeting our future energy needs.
    The kicker of McCain’s energy plan is to build 45 new nuclear plants across America by 2025, the first wave of 100 new nuclear plants he foresees. The negative impact on coal production and jobs from these plants will be extremely significant. And let’s face it–no matter what happens with respect to climate change over the next 50 to 100 years, the waste generated by a nuclear plant tomorrow will still be deadly to all life 10,000 years from now. Our distant descendants will likely be worrying about staying warm during the next ice age about then.
    With the coming development of clean coal technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS), America is on the brink of being able to use coal to generate energy without contributing any more greenhouse gases to the environment. Sen. McCain pays lip service to CCS, but the record shows that coal has a very limited future in John McCain’s vision of America.
    Sen. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is from a coal state and clearly understands the long-term role coal can play in our nation’s energy future. He has pledged to fund development of CCS technology so that it can be deployed as soon as possible. He has said that America is the “Saudi Arabia of coal” and that we ought to be working as hard as we can to figure out how to use it for decades to come.
    So the choice for coal miners, their families, their neighbors and everyone living in the coalfield communities throughout the coalfields of the U.S. Barack Obama is for the long-term future of your job and John McCain is not. Keep that in mind when you vote on Nov. 4. top

  • Anonymous Keith The Teeth said:
    Friday, September 26, 2008  

    I keep hearing this argument of "well if you put X in Y's shoes, they other side would be saying..." Well I mean... yea. Everyone is going to paint everyone else as much as possible. It's like the movie Hook, each campaign is trying to be Rufio all decked out in sticks and shit with bowls of colors ready to toss.

    They're fighting for the future of the free world and they must win at all costs. I mean shit, how can someone be president if they can't even deny the gaffes of their own team? That's like Presidential Campaigns 101, page 1.

    But yea, Biden messed this one up. That ANWR thing kinda makes me like Palin a little. Just a little. top

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