Inglis: Saying climate change is real was my biggest hurdle with GOP voters

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) said this weekend that his biggest stumbling block with conservatives was his insistence that climate change is real.

Inglis, the GOP lawmaker who was ousted by a conservative primary challenger earlier this year, said that his support for the Wall Street bailout paled in comparison to his insistence that Congress do something to address global warming.

"[T]he most enduring problem I had, the one that really was difficult, was just saying that climate change was real and let's do something about it," Inglis told NPR on Saturday.

Inglis voted against the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June of 2009, but has been insistent that the GOP work somehow to address environmental issues.

"As a Republican, I believe we should be talking about conservation," he explained. "Because that's our heritage. If you go back to Teddy Roosevelt, that's who we are."

GOP leaders had assailed the cap-and-trade bill, along with other energy and climate proposals that had been in the Senate, as a de facto tax on consumers and energy at a time when the economy can't easily stomach a new tax.

But climate change denial is also a healthy strain within the Republican Party. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top GOP member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, often says that the notion of catastrophic global warming is the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."