Bill Clinton Defends Obama's Clean Energy, Efficiency Policies in Marathon Speech

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Yesterday was the second day of "Mitt Romney's a rich a-hole fest 2012." And if your job demands that you follow along and look for interesting comments about climate change and the environment, the proceedings were getting exhausting fast.

Sure, there was an energy panel early Tuesday morning whereupon the staunch green advocate and climate bill co-author Rep. Ed Markey had some sharp words for the GOP's obstructionism. But the proceedings mostly devolved into an "all-of-the-above," equal opportunity pro- oil, gas, coal and renewable energy platitude-a-thon. And after that, nada. The big speakers barely even mentioned energy issues, much less climate change. And this is the party that's supposed to 'get' global warming.

So they left it to Bill Clinton, who delivered a mammoth 49-minute, largely improvised speech defending Obama's record.

It was stuffed with wonky rebuttals to Republican talking points, pro-Democrat statistics, and feel-good anecdotes warmed over by Clinton's flawless politician delivery. Oh yeah, and fact-checkers looked over the 5,000+ word transcript, and determined the damned thing to be accurate.

And here's what he had to say about energy and Obama's auto efficiency standards:

the agreement the [Obama] administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is [a] good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too — the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near-20-year low and natural-gas production to an all-time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.

Clinton also railed against Romney and Ryan's intention to gut the budget for national parks and the EPA, and made a strong case for anti-pollution regulation.

It was, by and large, the first time a speaker had stood up for environmental matters in the Democratic convention. It surely wasn't the focus of the night, or even the speech, and he didn't really make any calls to rally the troops on climate, but they're important points nonetheless. Remember, Clinton is a big energy efficiency advocate, so it's not surprising he honed in on the topic—and frankly, it's more than we can expect Obama to touch on in his address tonight, which will likely steer clear of climate and clean energy altogether.

Bill Clinton Defends Obama's Clean Energy, Efficiency Policies in Marathon Speech
The former president was the first major speaker at the Democratic National Convention to tackle climate change.