Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since I wrote a post titled "Meg Whitman: Global Warming is Real, Man-Made" just a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised by the Sacramento Bee's report from yesterday's debate between Whitman and fellow California Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner:
Whitman responded, "I do think the scientists say that the earth is getting warmer. Whether it is manmade or not, I don't know. I'm not a scientist."
Here, again, is what she told conservative Web site Flash Report in October, which prompted my post:
Whitman: So I think the science is fairly compelling behind global warming. Nothing is iron-clad in science, but as I look at the data, it does look to me that the earth is warming. It started largely around the Industrial Revolution and it has gone pretty dramatically up over the last 110, 120 years. And you look at some of the obvious statistics around the size of the polar ice caps and things, it does look to me like the earth is warming. I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this. There may also be long-term cycles to me, but I would say it does, to me, looks like the data says that man has had a hand in this.
You could make a case, I suppose, that my original headline was what was wrong and that Whitman hasn't been inconsistent. Whitman did acknowledge in the original statement that, "Nothing is iron-clad in science." Still, I think that there's a pretty big difference between "I don't know" and "I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this." It would be helpful to know whether she elaborated at the debate, but I haven't been able to find a full video or transcript.
On a not-unrelated note, Dan Walters, the Sacramento Bee's long-time columnist, thinks Whitman's move to the right could hurt her in the general election.
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