Environmental Advice for the Candidates From Paul Begala

CNN commentator, Democratic political consultant, and Priorities USA Action adviser

Jun 22, 2012
Outside Magazine
Paul Begala

Paul Begala speaks during a live taping of Meet the Press    Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Swing voters are people environmentalists rather than species environmentalists. We all care about fuzzy animals—nobody wants the polar bears to drown. But in the main, when we find that swing voters can be persuaded on environmental policy, it’s on people issues: clean air, clean water, pollution.

Obama has been blessed by his enemies. The people financing the attacks on him are really bad on people issues like clean air. I do think this can be an issue, and it will be. They’re trying to kill any clean-energy economy Obama is working to create because of their oil businesses. It’s just a business deal for them: they invest millions to elect Mitt Romney, and they reap billions from their businesses. It’s a straight-up return on investment.

So that’s what the election will be about—campaign ads will be more about air and water, not an American Indian with a tear running down his cheek.