Obama, obliquely, hits Cuccinelli on climate

Did President Obama take a shot Sunday at Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli’s legal campaign against a prominent climate scientist?

Seems so.

“It doesn’t create jobs when you go after scientists, and you try to offer your own alternative theories of how things work and engage in litigation around stuff that isn't political,” Obama said of Cuccinelli, a climate skeptic, during a rally for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. “It has to do with what's true. It has to do with facts. You don’t argue with facts.”

The remark is an apparent reference to Cuccinelli’s views on climate and his unsuccessful subpoenas to force the University of Virginia to turn over records related to climate scientist Michael Mann, which Cuccinelli’s critics called a witch hunt.

The work of Mann, who is now with The Pennsylvania State University, has faced attacks from Cuccinelli and other climate skeptics.

Mann has campaigned against Cuccinelli, who is the state's attorney general, in the Republican’s race against McAuliffe, which will be decided Tuesday.

Cuccinelli, in his yearslong effort to secure records from the university, said he wanted to obtain the records to determine whether Mann had used fraudulent scientific data when seeking government grants.

Mann is the researcher well-known for the “hockey stick” chart that reconstructs temperatures over the past millennium and shows a sharp uptick in the 20th century. His academic conduct has been cleared in several probes.

Cuccinelli has also filed unsuccessful legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

— This post was updated at 12:13 p.m.