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McCain's 'Better Way': 'Eco-Friendly' Campaign Merchandise; Spokesman Says Not Pandering to Left

     It’s not quite Birkenstocks and tie-dyed T-shirts, but presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has shown he’s willing to go the extra mile to embrace the global warming movement.

     The latest sign of that is the recently introduced “eco-friendly” campaign merchandise the McCain campaign has showcased on its Web site. Included are his and hers “Go Green” McCain embroidered polo shirts, T-shirts, hats and visors with or without the recycle logo. Organic cotton onesies for the babies. You can also find “Go Green” McCain tote bags, notebooks and travel mugs (with up to 100 percent recycled material and an “enhanced biodegradability additive”).

     This is the latest move by McCain to show his willingness to include so-called “green” issues as part of his campaign’s platform. This comes on the heels of a May 12 speech in which he addressed global warming. He also used the opportunity to take a swipe at policy under the Bush administration.  

    “I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. I will not accept the same dead-end of failed diplomacy that claimed Kyoto,” McCain said in the speech.

     Never mind that the Senate – including one John McCain – voted 95-0 against Kyoto.

     Some prominent conservatives are questioning the merits of such moves by the McCain campaign to cater to the environmentalists, who are traditionally on the left side of the ideological spectrum.

     “The troubling thing here, Senator McCain, is I’m mapping out plans here to try to persuade Republicans to eventually cross over to vote for you and this is not making it any easier,” conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said on his May 12 show. “At some point Republicans are going to have to decide whether to cross the aisle and vote for McCain. Clearly, he’s rolling the dice in thinking that the ‘green’ community and the independents and the yutes out there will buy into this global warming business and think he’s different than the average conservative Republican and that will stand him in good stead.”

     Heidi Harris, a radio talk show host in Las Vegas, went a step further to express her “disgust” on MSNBC’s May 13 “Hardball.”

      “[E]ven the Democrats are probably going be disgusted with this. I’m furious,” Harris said. “As a conservative, I’m really disgusted with this. I don’t understand why he’s so focused on climate change.”

      The McCain campaign responded to these criticisms by saying the issue is non-ideological, despite the existence of a large amount of skepticism about global warming alarmism, including more than 400 scientists who question man’s impact on climate change.

     “The evidence is clear, climate change is real,” Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, told the Business & Media Institute on May 14. “It is not simply an environmental problem, but one that affects our national and economic security. One extreme thinks that high taxes and crippling regulation is the solution. Others deny the problem even exists. John McCain feels that there is a better way, and voters from all backgrounds understand that’s what we need to bring about the right change in Washington.”

     When asked if he viewed this as the McCain campaign pandering to the environmental left, Sadosky said he didn’t.

     “This is taking on one of the challenges that affects our environment, our economy and our national security,” Sadosky said. “In one of his statements, I think in New Jersey last Friday, he said something along the lines of if we’re going to talk about planning for the future of America and keeping America’s – American families safe, we have to keep the world that we’re living in, we have, you know, we have to protect that as much as we are protecting America, the actual American families who are living on it.”