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Aug 2, 2015 11:35 PM

Steinhauser: Sanders supports new Obama push on climate change; critical of Clinton on same issue

NH1 Political Director -

ROLLINSFORD – Bernie Sanders is giving a thumbs up to President Barack Obama’s new push on climate change.

But in an interview with NH1 News, the senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate is critical of Hillary Clinton when it comes an environmental issue.

And he said it’s way too early to speculate about him and Clinton serving as running mates in 2016.

Sanders spoke one-on-one with NH1 News following a town meeting Sunday morning in Rollinsford. It was one of five standing-room-only town meetings Sanders held in New Hampshire this weekend.

As Sanders was in the Granite State Sunday, the Obama administration unveiled a major climate change plan aimed at large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants. Under the president’s plan, states will be required to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards based on their energy consumption.

The president is expected to begin pushing his plan at a White House event on Monday.

Asked by NH1 News his opinion of Obama’s proposals, Sanders said “I have not seen all of the details but I think that it moves us in the right direction. What the president is saying is that climate change is planetary crisis. We have to be bold in cutting carbon emissions if we’re going to leave this planet habitable for our children and grandchildren and I have the feeling I will end up strongly supportive of his efforts.”

But asked about the refusal by Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, to weigh in on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, Sanders said “In terms of a number of issues, the Keystone Pipeline for one, I think if you’re serious about addressing climate change, you have to say no to the keystone pipeline, which is the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world. That is my view. She has not been clear. She has not given up an opinion on that. I think she was wrong.”

Last Tuesday, at a town hall meeting in Nashua, Clinton was asked by a supporter of the pipeline whether “as president would you sign a bill, yes or no please, in favor of allowing the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Clinton refused to give a yes or no answer, saying “this is President Obama’s decision and I am not going to second guess him. Because I was in a position to set this in motion and I do not think that would be the right thing to do. So I want to wait see what he and Secretary (of State John) Kerry decide. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”

Read & Watch: Clinton interview with NH1 News

Sanders is nipping at the heels of Clinton in the latest polls in the first-in-the-nation primary state. While he’s more than comfortable to disagree with Clinton on policy, Sanders says he won’t attack her.

“Hillary Clinton and I have many different points of view that of course I’m going to talk about. That’s what an election is about. But what I meant by saying I’m not going to engage in personal attacks’ is I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I like her. I admire her. And media very often wants that personal type of criticism. I’m not going to get involved in that.”

Asked if a year from now we could see a Clinton-Sanders ticket, or even a Sanders-Clinton ticket, Sanders said it’s “too early to speculate. What I can say is I’m really just delighted by the crowds we are bringing out here throughout New Hampshire. I think we’re going to do a lot better than people anticipated. I think we have an excellent chance to win this thing.”

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