|JUNEAU — Yesterday, Sen. Mark Begich revealed exactly why Alaskans should be concerned that he isn’t being straight with them on a carbon tax, claiming that while he may lend his signature to letters stating explicit policy goals, he doesn’t necessarily mean what they say. His flurry of conflicting comments on his carbon tax position has led the National Journal to ask for more information.
Last week, AFP launched a television ad that highlights the senator’s record of saying one thing in Alaska then doing another in Washington. One piece of the evidence is a letter he signed supporting a “price on greenhouse gases.” Now, Senator Begich wants Alaskans to believe he simply didn’t mean it despite his plain support for increasing the cost of energy.
Sen. Begich’s remarks today — that he “didn’t agree with every piece of that letter” — signal that he’s interested in moving with the political winds rather than being direct with his constituents about where he’s stood on the carbon tax and whether he would unequivocally oppose one now.
AFP-Alaska spokesperson Heidi Gay said, “This is Senator Begich’s third attempt to answer whether or not he supports a “price on greenhouse gases.” First, he claimed he was only trying to extend the conversation on climate change. Then he said he signed onto something that was ‘undefined’ at the time. Now, Begich is saying he didn’t agree with ‘100 percent of the letter’ he put his signature on. How can Alaskans know he won’t turn around and support increasing the cost of carbon-based energy again in the future? How do we know which letters he really means and which ones he doesn’t?”
TODAY: Begich: Signing a Letter Doesn’t Mean You Agree with it 100 Percent. “I didn’t agree with every piece of that letter — people think when you sign those letter, you are 100 percent,” he said. (Lisa Demer, Anchorage Daily News, 3/5/14).
ONE WEEK AGO: Begich: Letter was Still “Undefined” from his Perspective. National Journal Wants More Information. “But Begich said Tuesday that his signature didn’t signal support for cap-and-trade or a tax. ‘I think it was still undefined at that point from my perspective,’ he said when asked what the ‘price’ phrase meant. …So what does he think the ‘price’ on carbon should mean? ‘I think there are other ways to deal with carbon as a pollutant,’ Begich said. More, please.” (Ben Geman and Clare Foran, National Journal, 2/26/14)
TWO WEEKS AGO: Begich: Letter Was Meant to Stoke Conversation on Climate Change. “Begich’s campaign spokesman told PolitiFact that the letter he signed was meant to further a general conversation about climate change.” (PolitiFact, 2/21/14).
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