Energy & Environment

Clinton camp worried carbon tax would be ‘lethal’

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager feared that endorsing a carbon tax would be “lethal” to her campaign.

Hacked emails released Thursday by WikiLeaks belonging to John Podesta showed her top aides trying to to walk a fine line on a carbon tax, neither endorsing it nor ruling it out.

{mosads}The email chain shows a window into one of many balancing acts that Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, has faced in her 2016 campaign, trying to alienate neither the progressive wing of the Democratic Party nor potential swing voters.

“It’s lethal in the general [election], so I don’t want to support one,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the June 2015 email to campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, as the Democratic primaries were getting underway and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was emerging as a progressive threat.

Mook also said he is “a bit nervous about rushing to say we’d never support such a tax” and noted that the he was unaware of any campaign polling on voters’ opinions about carbon taxes.

“Bernie I assume DOES support such a tax and it could be fodder for him if we say unequivocally now that we don’t support one,” he said.

“[I] don’t want to give bernie contrast right now,” Mook continued, telling Fallon that “if there’s a way to re-state principles and say she’ll announce something in the next few weeks, that would be great.”

The conversation was prompted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate and a close Clinton ally, saying at a public event that if Clinton becomes president and Democrats take the Senate majority, a carbon tax could be enacted.

Fallon had asked Mook and other aides whether there was “any chance we go near such a proposal or can we nip this in the bud tonight?”

Sanders pushed Clinton at an April debate to say whether she supports his legislation to impose a carbon tax, a policy that most environmentalists and some conservationists support as a simple way to fight climate change.

Clinton didn’t answer directly, instead saying she favors policies that can be implemented without relying on Congress.

“I don’t take a back seat to your legislation that you’ve introduced that you haven’t been able to get passed,” Clinton said. “I want to do what we can do to actually make progress in dealing with the crisis.”

Clinton aides in August said she would not propose a carbon tax, but she would be open to discussing it if Congress wanted one.

Podesta and the Clinton campaign have declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of the WikiLeaks releases.

Tags 2016 presidential election Bernie Sanders Carbon tax Chuck Schumer Climate change Hillary Clinton

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