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Notable & Quotable: Rick Perry defends support of Al Gore


Sorry for the overdose of Rick Perry news today, but the newest GOP presidential contender comes with a lot of baggage...

In an interview with Des Moines-based WHO radio on Monday, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry explained and defended some of his past positions, including his support for Al Gore's failed presidential bid in 1988 for which he served as a state campaign coordinator:

“This was Al Gore before he invented the Internet and got to be Mr. Global Warming,” Perry said. Growing up in rural Texas, he said, “I never met a Republican until I was 25. ... In 1988 when you looked at the candidates, Al Gore was the most conservative candidate that was out there.”  He pointed to Gore’s support for missile defense.

Once Gore failed to win the nomination, he said, he came to question his partisan identity. “Not only did I vote for George H.W. Bush for president, I switched parties the next year,” Perry said. “When I did that, I made both political parties happy.”

But Politico's Bob King points out that global warming had already become a major issue for Gore by 1988 and was featured somewhat prominently in his presidential campaign:

Gore, then a young Tennessee senator trying to break out in a crowded Democratic field, mentioned the warming planet as one of his priorities for his presidential campaign in April 1987, according to news coverage at the time.

“He laid out a broad list of national objectives, from combating AIDS and Alzheimer's disease to curbing the ‘greenhouse effect’ — the threat to the Earth's atmosphere from the burning of oil, gas and coal,” The Los Angeles Times reported in covering Gore’s announcement. In May 1987, according to The Washington Post, his stump speeches included a call for the nation to “confront the emerging problems of the greenhouse effect and the threat to our ozone.”

Later that summer, Gore joined Republican Sen. John Chafee in calling for urgent action on climate change and the threat of coastal flooding.

Perry's campaign insists, however, that despite serving on his campaign in '88, Perry never agreed with Gore on climate change.

“The governor has always been a conservative and didn't agree with Al Gore on every issue, global warming being one of them,” a campaign spokesman told Politico.

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