As promised, Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner devoted a portion of his keynote tonight to energy and climate concerns.

“Two wars, a warming planet, an energy policy that says let’s borrow money from China to buy oil from countries that don’t like us,” said Warner. “How many people look at these things and wonder what the future holds for them? Their children? Their country? How many?”

“People always ask me, ‘What’s your biggest criticism of President Bush?’ I’m sure you all have your own. Here’s mine: It’s not just the policy differences. It’s the fact that this president never tapped into our greatest resources — the character and resolve of the American people. He never asked us to step up,” Warner continued.

“Think about it: After September 11, if there was a call from the President to get us off foreign oil, to stop funding the very terrorists who had just attacked us, every American would have said, ‘How can I do my part?’ This administration failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation, when all of us work together.

Warner touted his experience in the information technology sector as evidence of the great possibilities if the country concentrates that power on the energy problem. He said that the challenge should be seen as an opportunity for growth, and appealed to a sense of patriotism about the issue.

“If we actually got ourselves off foreign oil, we can make our country safer. We’ll start to solve global warming,” he said. “And with the right policies, within 24 months, we’ll be building 100 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicles right here — with American technology and with American workers.”