On Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry once again grabbed the spotlight with a controversial statement, this time by challenging climate change. "The issue of global warming has been politicized," Perry said. "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects." Perry's stand against not just the idea of climate change but the scientists who've set out to prove it contrasts with the views of his chief 2012 rival, Mitt Romney. Will it help Perry win over voters or simply encourage more hecklers like those he met at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Thursday?
It further differentiates him from Romney: With his emphasis on the economy and views on climate change, Perry continues to "draw sharp contrasts with Romney on both style and substance," says Matt Viser in The Boston Globe. He emphatically proclaimed that, unlike Romney, he doesn't believe climate change is being caused by man, and his boldness might be working. His swagger drew huge crowds in New Hampshire on Wednesday, and it seems "residents are willing to be swayed by a new choice in the race."
No, it makes Romney look like the better man: Perry's climate change remarks were "ridiculous" and misinformed, and they cast Romney in a more favorable light, says D.R. Tucker at Frum Forum. Romney showed real "courage under talk-radio fire earlier this summer when he dared to acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change is real." Meanwhile, Perry is ignoring the facts and insulting voters' intelligence. "It's one thing for Perry to dismiss the data documenting mankind's role in climate alteration," but it's quite another to wrongly accuse the scientists themselves of manipulating data.
"Perry keeps treating 'em ugly"
I don't think it really matters: "The real question is: Do these divergent views on climate change result in significant policy differences?" says Ronald Bailey at Reason. While I don't agree with Perry's views on the science of global warming, he's no less likely to do anything about it than Romney: "When addressing energy and climate policy, both [candidates] deploy feel-good rhetoric that largely avoids making any thorny trade-offs."
"Politicized global warming in the GOP"