Republican White House hopefuls wasted no time Sunday trying to translate controversial Environmental Protection Agency climate-change regulations into political traction for their campaigns.
The same day that the White House detailed a sweeping set of regulations on the power sector, several presidential candidates appeared at a Southern California forum for wealthy donors hosted by Freedom Partners, a political outfit funded by the Koch brothers.
And they delivered just what the conservative audience wanted to hear. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a staunch climate denier, blasted President Obama for a video introducing the power-plant rules, in which Obama said climate change has "serious implications for the way we live now."
When asked whether he thought Obama was exaggerating the threat of climate change, Cruz paused and said, "You know, there's a different word than 'exaggerating' I might use," to laughter from the crowd.
He also leaned on his familiar position, questioning climate science and telling the crowd, "I think science and facts matter."
And he sought to drive a wedge between environmentalists and unions, two pillars of the Democratic coalition. He accused Obama and Democrats of choosing to "go with California environmentalist billionaires and their campaign donations instead of the jobs of their union members," a not-so-veiled reference to liberal billionaire and donor Tom Steyer.