Winning in New Hampshire

Winning in New Hampshire
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Guest blogger: Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club Political Director

Concord, NH -- I've only been in the state for a few hours, and the polls don't close until tomorrow night, but the Sierra Club is ready to declare victory here. As our volunteers and staff are scattered across the state at various candidate events, they are handing out a press release to reporters that says "The clean energy future has already begun in New Hampshire." Tomorrow we'll have 250 volunteers at dozens of polling places with the same message.

The media may not be paying close attention, but in New Hampshire it's easy for the candidates to talk directly to the public about the issues they believe are most important to voters. Here, it's clear that the presidential hopefuls know that citizens want to hear about plans for clean energy and solutions to global warming.

What is truly amazing is the intensity with which the candidates discuss the issues. At Saturday's debate, Barack Obama stressed the need for a cap on carbon emissions along with a 100-percent auction for the credits. "In other words," he said, "every little bit of pollution that is sent up into the atmosphere, that polluter is getting charged for it. Not only does that ensure that they don't game the system, but you're also generating billions of dollars that can be invested in solar and wind and biodiesel." Some of my colleagues saw Obama in Lebanon, NH early this morning where he called for change and inspired his audience by talking about the need to "roll back climate change and break the tyranny of oil."

At a rally just an hour ago, I saw John McCain kick off his rally with a pledge to fight global warming. This morning's New York Times reported that it's "an issue he said voters in this state placed on his agenda."

Certainly with the entire Democratic field -- including Senators Edwards, Obama and Clinton, as well as Governor Richardson -- whoever wins the nomination, the outcome will be good for the planet.

In addition to solidly putting global warming on all of the candidates' agendas, New Hampshire voters will also send a clear signal to the rest of the country about who they believe is most qualified to be the next President. If the most recent polls are to be believed, Senators Obama and McCain are likely to win.

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