WSJ quoted McCain touting his "pro-environment positions," but didn't note his poor LCV score

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

The Wall Street Journal uncritically reported that Sen. John McCain "said his pro-environment positions," among others, would "make him competitive" in California. In fact, McCain has a lifetime rating of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters. By contrast, Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime rating of 87 percent and Sen. Barack Obama, 86 percent.

In a March 5 article, The Wall Street Journal reported that Sen. John McCain "said his pro-environment positions," among others, would "make him competitive" in California. In fact, McCain has a lifetime rating of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). By contrast, Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime rating of 87 percent and Sen. Barack Obama, 86 percent.

In a February 21 post on the environmental blog Gristmill, Grist magazine staff writer David Roberts wrote that while the "LCV scorecard has its critics," it's "nonetheless become something of a gold standard when measuring how 'green' a lawmaker is."

Additionally, McCain received a score of 40 percent in the Defenders of Wildlife's "Conservation Report Card" for the 109th Congress, while Obama and Clinton both received a score of 82 percent. For the 108th Congress, McCain received a 38 percent score on the organization's report card, while Clinton scored 100 percent. According to Defenders of Wildlife, McCain, Clinton, and Obama did not vote enough to receive an official score for the 110th Congress; however McCain has a lifetime rating of 39 percent, while Clinton's lifetime rating is 92 percent and Obama, 85 percent.

The Wall Street Journal article, by reporter Laura Meckler, also stated that "[i]t would be a risky gambit" for McCain to compete in California, adding that "television ads are very expensive, and it isn't clear if Sen. McCain will have the money needed to compete in such a large state along with a raft of traditional swing states such as Ohio, Missouri, Florida and Pennsylvania." But the article did not note that according to the most recent state poll, McCain trails both Clinton and Obama by more than 20 points in California. A SurveyUSA poll, conducted February 15-17 with a +/- 4.4 percent margin of error, found Clinton leading McCain in California 58 percent to 35 percent, and Obama leading McCain 61 percent to 34 percent. Further, significantly more Californians voted in the 2008 Democratic primary than in the Republican one -- 4.4 million compared with 2.5 million.

From the March 5 Wall Street Journal article:

The campaign is beginning to strategize in which states it will mount challenges, looking to compete in reliably Democratic states including New Jersey, Connecticut and the biggest prize, California. Sen. McCain said his pro-environment positions, his history of attracting Hispanic voters and his appeal to independents will make him competitive there.

"I think we ought to go to as many states as possible, as many areas as possible," Sen. McCain said.

It would be a risky gambit -- television ads are very expensive, and it isn't clear if Sen. McCain will have the money needed to compete in such a large state along with a raft of traditional swing states such as Ohio, Missouri, Florida and Pennsylvania.

At the same time, Sen. McCain will need to shore up the Republican base, including evangelical conservatives in the South and elsewhere who have been slow to warm to his candidacy.

Posted In
Environment & Science
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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