I have complained a number of times — even on CNN! — that the mainstream political press is ignoring the issue of global warming, particularly in the context of the presidential race.

Well, it seems CBS News finally decided it was time to address the issue, as part of its "Primary Questions" series, which asks 10 questions of each of the candidates. What question did they choose?

"Is the global warming threat overblown?"

Oh. My. God. Will you please just kill me? Have you ever heard CBS ask, "Is the terrorist threat overblown?" "Is the Social Security solvency threat overblown?" "Is the illegal immigrant threat overblown?" "Is the threat to Christmas from godless secularists overblown?" "Is Katie Couric’s fitness for news anchorhood overblown?"

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No, just global warming, which faces, in the eyes of the Village, a burden of proof that seemingly cannot be overcome, no matter how many thousands of scientists endorse it. This falls into the first of two frames that absolutely dominate what little political coverage this issue gets:

  • Isn’t it overblown?
  • Isn’t it going to cost a lot to do anything about it?

That’s it. That’s what Joe Sixpack sees on his teevee.

John Edwards gave it the only reply it warrants:

It seems to me that every time we get more scientific information it indicates the problem is more severe, more serious than we though. So, no, I don’t think it’s being over-hyped.

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Contrast that to Fritterin’ Fred Thompson:

There are a lot of unanswered questions. We don’t know to the extent this is a cyclical thing. This may or may not effect very much.

Hey Fred, if you have access to a computer from your Barca lounger and can pry your hand off that mint julep, you might think about reading up on it.

Here’s Clinton:

I don’t think that it’s over-hyped. I think we have time but we have to start acting now.

Contrast that to Meteoric Mike Huckabee:

I don’t know. I mean, the honest answer for me, scientifically, is "I don’t know."

That’s his "scientific" answer, mind you. This, I suppose, is his scientific recommendation for how to solve the problem he doesn’t know exists:

And we ought to declare that we will be free of energy consumption in this country within a decade, bold as that is.

"Bold" is one word for it. [UPDATE: It appears Huckabee was misquoted in an early draft of the transcript. His quote now reads, “And we ought to declare that we will be oil free of energy consumption in this country within a decade, bold as that is.” That doesn’t make a ton of sense either, but at least it’s a little more clear what he’s getting at. He wants to eliminate our use of oil entirely. Nuts, but not as nuts as eliminating energy consumption altogether!]

Here’s Obama:

No, I think they’re serious. I think we have to take significant steps now to deal with it. I’ve put forward a very substantial proposal to get 80 percent reductions in greenhouse gases by 2050.

Contrast that to Ruttin’ Rudy Giuliani:

There is global warming. Human beings are contributing to it. I think the best answer to it is energy independence.

Non sequitur much?

As for the rest: Richardson’s got a great answer; the Romneybot does fairly well, but has to slip in the China canard ("They don’t call it America warming. They call it global warming."); Biden is decent but calls out ethanol of all things; and finally, McCain’s answer is predictably good, except for this rather notable exchange:

Couric: Why has [addressing global warming] taken so long, Senator?

McCain: Special interests. It’s the special interests. It’s the utility companies and the petroleum companies and other special interests. They’re the ones that have blocked progress in the congress of the United States and the administration. That’s a little straight talk.

Notice anything missing from McCain’s answer?


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