Sen. Hagan blasts GOP's Tillis on climate

North Carolina Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D) isn't shying away from climate change in her reelection race.

On Tuesday, Hagan slammed her Republican challenger Thom TillisThom R. TillisOvernight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline Senators ask to include visas for Afghans in spending bill Protect lives, U.S. credibility: Pass the Keeping Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies Act MORE on his environmental record, saying North Carolina needs "a senator who believes climate change exists."

"Unlike my opponent who flatly denied the existence of climate change, I know the EPA’s ability to responsibly regulate greenhouse gas emissions is key to protecting our environment for future generations,” Hagan told more than 200 people at a League of Conservation Voters awards dinner.

In an interview with The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., after the speech, Hagan toned down her rhetoric.

She said an all-of-the-above energy strategy is still necessary.

"We have to have a big energy policy,” she said, adding her support for fracking and offshore drilling, if done the right way.

After being pressed to expand on her thoughts about climate issues, Hagan said: "I think we’ve definitely got to be concerned about it, that we need to take action. I think we’ve also got to understand and look into the impact that certain actions would have on families and middle class families in North Carolina.”

Tillis's campaign manager, Jordan Shaw, shot back a Hagan for flip-flopping on her energy views.

“Regardless of Kay Hagan’s election-year doublespeak on energy polices, her failed voting record makes it clear that she sides with the left-wing special interest groups that support her campaign, even at the cost of destroying jobs and causing energy prices to skyrocket,” Shaw said in a statement.

Shaw went on to tether Hagan to President Obama's carbon limits for power plants, which Hagan hasn't publicly endorsed.