Romney Takes A Swipe At Cap-And-Trade

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Mitt Romney took a shot at the Democrats' climate bill today in a web video launched by his Free and Strong America PAC, Romney's political fundraising and action group.

"President Obama has asked Congress to pass a cap and trade program. It would have a devastating impact on the families of America and on the economy," Romney says.

Cap-and-trade--the emissions regulation scheme under which greenhouse gas emissions would be capped, but emitters would be allowed to trade or purchase credits to emit more--has stalled in the Senate after the House narrowly passed it (on a 219-212 vote) in June. It's one of Obama's three major domestic policy priorities, along with health care and education, and it has received a split reaction in the business community, as Apple recently resigned from the Chamber of Commerce, and Nike resigned from the Chamber's board, over the Chamber's opposition to Democratic plans.

Romney, ever attuned to the dynamics of international competition, leveled two oft-repeated criticisms: that it would drive up energy costs for Americans, and that it would leave America's economy at a disadvantage to other countries with less stringent emissions regulations.

"And because cap and trade simply moves greenhouse gas emitters from America to other nations like China and India that don't participate in the program, it wouldn't do a thing to affect the climate of the overall planet," Romney said.

Romney's PAC sent the video out to supporters via email; the page that hosts it contains prominently placed forms to donate and sign up for alerts from Romney.

Since the 2008 campaign, Romney has stayed active primarily on business issues, routinely surfacing to criticize the Employee Free Choice Act, the top legislative priority for labor unions. This is the second web ad he's done through the PAC, and it thrusts him into the energy discussion at a time when Republicans have become fond of talking about it, referring to cap-and-trade as the "national energy tax" as they look for a cudgel to swing at Democrats heading into the 2010 election season.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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