U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, was among the GOP House members who asked President Barack Obama questions during what The Associated Press reported was "a remarkably sharp face-to-face confrontation" in Baltimore on Friday.
Their four-and-a-half-minute exchange starts 38 minutes into the 86-minute video. The White House has also posted the transcript.
Capito said "cap and trade, an aggressive EPA, and the looming prospect of higher taxes" are "job-killing policies" to many in resource-rich West Virginia.
"So I'm asking you if you would be willing to re-look at some of these policies, with a high unemployment and the unsure economy that we have now, to assure West Virginians that you're listening," she said to the president.
In lengthy (nearly 500-word) response, Obama said "nobody has been a bigger promoter of clean coal technology than I am," while adding that "I'm a promoter of nuclear energy."
He went on to say that "cleaner forms of energy are going to be increasingly important, because even if folks are still skeptical in some cases about climate change in our politics and in Congress, the world is not skeptical about it."
After telling Capito that "what I want to do is work with West Virginia to figure out how we can seize that future," he concluded thusly regarding coal:
"We've got to be thinking what does that industry look like in the next hundred years. And it's going to be different. And that means there's going to be some transition. And that's where I think a well-thought-through policy of incentivizing the new while recognizing that there's going to be a transition process -- and we're not just suddenly putting the old out of business right away -- that has to be something that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to embrace."
The exchange did not make AP's coverage of what Political Wire's Taegan Goddard called "the most compelling political television I've seen in a long, long time."
The Charleston Gazette focuses on that part of the Q-and-A, and also discusses it on its Coal Tattoo blog. MetroNews has an item (with audio) as well.
30 January 2010
Posted by Lawrence Messina at 11:00 AM