Thursday night’s Republican debate was worth watching if only to see Tim Pawlenty try to talk his way around his previous support for efforts to cut planet-warming emissions. As governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty not only acknowledged that climate change is a problem, but also endorsed a cap-and-trade plan to deal with it. That makes him something of a pariah among other Republicans these days.
In a very “This is Your Life” moment, the Fox debate hosts replayed a 2007 ad that Pawlenty recorded for the Environmental Defense Fund in which he argues for cap and trade as a solution for climate change. When asked to discuss the ad, Pawlenty abashedly replied, “Do we have to?”
After trying to explain that he didn’t actually support cap and trade policy as governor—he just supported the “study” of it—Pawlenty decided to try apologizing:
“I’ve said I was wrong. It was a mistake, and I’m sorry,” Mr. Pawlenty told the Fox television audience, presumably filled with potential Republican primary voters. “You’re going to have a few clunkers in your record, and we all do, and that’s one of mine. I just admit it. I don’t try to duck it, bob it, weave it, try to explain it away. I’m just telling you, I made a mistake.”