Pawlenty: My Past Support For Cap-And-Trade ‘Was Stupid’ (AUDIO)

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March 29, 2011 10:48 a.m.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who is exploring a run for president, is bluntly backing off from the progressive position he once took on cap-and-trade.

Pawlenty has stepped back from this position before, but now he’s handling it as an apparent presidential candidate. MSNBC reports:

“Anybody who’s going to run for this office who’s been in an executive position or may run has got some clunkers in their record,” he said on the Laura Ingraham Show. “As to climate change – or more specifically cap-and-trade – I’ve just come out and admitted and said, ‘Look, it was a mistake. It was stupid. I’m not going to try to defend it.'”

The former Minnesota governor signed a bill in 2007 that authorized a task force “to recommend how the state could adopt” a cap-and-trade system. The same year, he also joined onto an accord with five other governors urging the creation of “a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism.”

Ingraham also played a radio ad that Pawlenty had appeared in, alongside none other than then-Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), now the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The key moment begins at the 6:15 mark below:

“We don’t always share the same views–” Pawlenty said in the ad.

Followed by Napolitano: “But we both agree it’s time for Congress to deal with the real threat of climate change.”

And back to Pawlenty: “If we act now, we can create thousands of new jobs in clean energy industries, before our overseas competitors beat us to it. So come on, Congress, let’s get moving — cap greenhouse gas pollution now.”

Ingraham noted with a laugh that other candidates used to back cap-and-trade, as well, such as the TV ad from a few years ago of Newt Gingrich sitting on a couch outside the Capitol with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D).

“Everybody in the race, at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another, every one of us,” said Pawlenty. “So there’s no one who has been in executive position whose name is being bantered in a first or second-tier way who hasn’t embraced it in some way.”

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