August 15, 2008

On Energy, Each Stakes Out Moderate Ground

By Ed Sealover

Colorado's U.S. Senate candidates are nothing if not flexible when it comes to energy policy.

Thursday, longtime renewable- energy champion Mark Udall declared he's "always been for drilling."

His Republican rival, former oil company officer Bob Schaffer, described himself as a "renewable- energy executive."

The statements, made during a recorded television debate, illustrate the length to which both men are going to offer moderate positions as polls show opinion constantly shifting as gasoline prices spike.

Udall, a Democrat, and Schaffer are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Wayne Allard.

Udall's first campaign ad focused on the need for more renewable energy, a subject that has defined the Eldorado Springs congressman's 10-year career. But this week he released a commercial discussing the need for more domestic oil production. Schaffer called it Udall's "Rip Van Winkle moment in campaigning."

Schaffer, meanwhile, has discussed the need for more domestic drilling since the campaign started, but a flurry of attack ads have labeled him "Big Oil Bob" for his connection to the industry and support of its tax breaks.

The former Fort Collins congressman said Thursday his tenure as an executive with Aspect Energy included much work on wind power and clean-energy natural gas, drawing guffaws from Udall staffers.

"You can join with me in my plan," Udall said to Schaffer, referring to a proposal Udall backed Wednesday to increase domestic production and transfer oil-company tax breaks to renewable-energy producers.

"It could be the Udall/Schaffer plan," he said.


Speaking out

U.S. Senate candidates Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall met for their third debate Thursday. They were joined by Green Party nominee Bob Kinsey and American Constitution Party candidate Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell.

* On the Russia-Georgia conflict

Kinsey: Russia had as much right to invade Georgia as the United States did to invade Iraq, and the U.S. has no business intervening. "The idea of sending a humanitarian force is the craziest thing I've ever heard."

Udall: "The Russians have been eyeing Georgia. They are exerting their hegemony. . . . We need to stand with the Georgians."

Schaffer: Georgia is a flash point for Russia's interest in the rest of eastern Europe. The Russians are "testing our willingness to stand with our partners," and the United States needs to stand up against them.

Campbell: "I don't see anything in the Constitution that allows us to start shooting at anybody else without a declaration of war."

* On whether they have

solar panels on their homes

Schaffer: No, though he added: "We have windows."

Udall: Yes.

Kinsey: Had solar panels on home before he sold it in 2002 after his wife died. Now has a solar powered fountain on his deck.

Campbell: Has two solar panels on his roof, but the pump needed to generate power on one of them is broken.

Originally published by Ed Sealover, Rocky Mountain News.

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