John McCain: Eco-Warrior

Yikes, it's really true. John McCain is running for president as a tree-hugging liberal.

No, not an all-the-time environmentalist -- rather, as a swing-state-savvy, targeted-message-peddling, hoping-to-pick-up- the-votes-of-lifestyle-liberals-who-want-to-address-climate- change-on-the-cheap murky-shade-of-green Republican.

So, today, in the battleground state of Oregon, where a reverence for the outdoors requires that Republican contenders greenwash their appeals, McCain's campaign will begin airing a new television commercial that essentially says: "Look, I'm not like George Bush and Dick Cheney. I don't live in la-la land when it comes to global warming. I actually believe in something I like to call 'science.'"

The senator -- who broke a little bit with Bush and Cheney on environmental issues, but who never really lined up with the serious Republican environmentalists who were isolated by the administration and burn-the-planet GOP leaders like Tom DeLay -- is reinforcing the message with a major campaign swing through the northwest, where he hopes to put the sometimes swinging states of Oregon and Washington in play by presenting himself as John McCain: Eco-Warrior.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee swept into Portlandon Monday to deliver a major address outlining his plan to "re-establish America's environmental leadership in the world." Here's a hint about how he'll do it: The McCain campaign says the candidates wants to "mobilize market forces."

That may sound good, but as Gene Karpinski, the president of the bipartisan League of Conservation Voters, says, "To his credit, Senator McCain wants to do something serious about global warming, but his proposal falls far short of what the science says we need to do today. He has not substantively improved his plan over the bill he introduced years ago -- legislation that the science now shows is out of date."


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