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Capito questions Obama at House GOP conference

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Friday, January 29, 2010; 2:06 PM

After addressing the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore on Friday, President Obama took a series of questions from the lawmakers. Here is a transcript of one of the questions posed to the president:

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SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-W.Va.): As you said on your -- in the State of the Union address on Wednesday, jobs and the economy are number one. And I think everyone in this room, certainly I, agree with you on that.

I represent the state of West Virginia. We're resource rich. We have a lot of coal and a lot of natural gas.

But our -- my miners and the folks who are working and those who are unemployed are very concerned about some of your policies in these areas: cap-and-trade, an aggressive EPA and the looming prospect of higher taxes. In our minds, these are job-killing policies.

So I'm asking in -- in to -- if you would be willing to re-look at some of these policies, with the high unemployment and unsure economy that we have now, to assure West Virginians that you're listening.

OBAMA: Well, I -- look, I listen all the time, including to your governor, who's somebody who I enjoyed working with a lot before the campaign and now that I'm president.

And I know that West Virginia struggles with unemployment. And I know how important coal is to West Virginia and a lot of the natural resources there. That's part of the reason why I've said that we need a comprehensive energy policy that sets us up for a long-term future.

For example, nobody's been a bigger promoter of clean coal technology than I am. In testament to that, I ended up being in a whole bunch of advertisements that you guys saw all the time about investing in ways for us to burn coal more cleanly.

I've said that I'm a promoter of nuclear energy, something that, you know, I think over the last three decades has been subject to a lot of partisan wrangling and ideological wrangling. I don't think it makes sense. I think that that has to be part of our energy mix.

I've said that I am supportive -- and I said this two nights ago at the State of the Union -- that I'm in favor of increased production.

So if you look at the ideas that this caucus has, again, with respect to energy, I'm for a lot of what you said you are for.

The one thing that I've also said, though -- and here we have a serious disagreement and my hope is we can work through this agreement -- these disagreements; there's be effort on the Senate side to do so on a bipartisan basis -- is that we have to plan for the future.


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