On Litmus Tests, McCain Won't Always Turn Green

GOP candidate trumpets interest in climate change, but votes can be 'erratic'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2008 2:29 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, center, looks over the shoulder of children while looking at an exhibit at Liberty Science Center.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – John McCain might trumpet his climate-change bona fides—and voters might be giving him credit—but the Republican candidate's true green colors are far more mixed, the Washington Post finds in a look at how he treats environmental issues. McCain wants a federal limit on greenhouse-gas emissions, but voted against higher fuel-efficiency standards and requiring public utilities to boost output from renewable sources.

He has stood for protecting public lands, but dismissed the Endangered Species Act when it interfered with development. A top adviser says his man is a true environmentalist, but can’t please “groups who are single-issue, litmus test” types. But a top eco-advocate typifies the ambivalence watchers feel toward him: Of the helpful Republicans, McCain “is perhaps the most unpredictable, erratic.” (Read more John McCain stories.)