The Daily Rundown | March 21, 2013
>>> the republican party self imposed self review is generating a lot of reaction this week, both good and bad, about what direction the party needs to take to win national elections in the future. and one of the big areas of concern is with women voters. some of the recommendations from the report from the republican national committee include communications training, more women as surrogates, rapid response to attacks and more female candidates. joining me now is former republican governor of new jersey and former epa administrator christine todd-whitman, governor, thank you for spending some time. this is your party . this is a party in turmoil. i am putting it nicely. this is a party , i don't want to say at war with itself but a party that is divided in many ways. those suggestions, yes, more female candidates and more female surrogates. but in truth does that get you where you need to be with women voters and if not what does the republican party have to do?
>> you've got to change the message. it's not about the messaging, it's the message. you can't just say we've got to say it better or we've got to send other people out. sending a woman out as a candidate doesn't guarantee women are going to vote for her if she's taking positions that appear to be anti- women . when you vote against the violence against woman act, that raises some serious concerns among women . where is your heart really. and frankly when you start imposing as good, quote unquote conservatives government in the bedroom that also turns people off.
>> we've got a map of the united states with female governors. you've got nikki haley , jan brewer , susannah martinez, mary fallon in oklahoma. the northeast and new england broadly has not been a place where -- you are an exception to that rule but where republican women have met with much success. what do you make of it?
>> i think it's more republicans in general not meeting with much success.
>> that's a good point. there aren't a lot of republicans in the house. now, you're here in d.c., you have taken time from your beautiful farm in new jersey. you're coming to d.c. for an energy event, and i know that obviously you've been a former epa administrator and are deeply involved in this issue. talk to me about what's happening around the issue. president obama i know mentioned climate change to the joy of many people in the energy community in his state of the union address . tell me why you're here today.
>> i co-chair something called clean safe energy coalition.org on the website. we are about educating people to the role nuclear energy plays today. what we did yesterday was release a white paper that basically talks about the importance of a long-term energy strategy that includes all of the above because right now we're seeing such a run to natural gas . we should take advantage of the fact that the prices are low and that's helpful. but we've been here before and seen low prices and then seen them go up. you want to be very sure as you look at a 28% increase in electricity demand by 2040 , which is what the department of energy projects, that you have a very mixed portfolio that includes all the kinds of green energy , it includes conservation as well as oil. and nuclear is part of that.
>> and let me ask you about public perception because it's something nuclear energy has battled since chernobyl and fukushima. is the public more sort of open to nuclear energy now? has it lost the stigma that it's carried?
>> gallup did a poll after fukushima and found better than 50% of the american people supported nuclear. the interesting thing is the closer you get to reactors, the bigger the support because the people there understand the safety, they understand what it brings to them as far as reliable, affordable energy and the economic value to their communities.
>> now, the republican party -- mitt romney talked about during the campaign briefly, he talked about nuclear energy and the need. but republicans in general, the energy issue has tended to be sort of stereotype as climate change . do republicans need to, as we are talking about sort of the need for republican renaissance, rebirth, call it what you will, do republicans need to think more broadly about energy and how it fits into this rebranding of the party ? and if so, are there one, two or three things that the party should absolutely -- i assume nuclear is part of this, that the party absolutely should embrace to say, look, we're not just the guys that are antiwhat the democrats are proposing on energy and everything else.
>> they need to think more broad low on just about everything, i think, but certainly on energy . one of those things is to say, look, we want clean air . we want a good quality of life for people. so that means we need to look at clean energy . cleaner energy means less air pollutants which means healthier people. if you can call something that's contagious an epidemic, it's the single largest cause of missed school days for children. it's scary for kids when they can't do sports. there are all sorts of things that affect their lives forever in some instances. and we know that one of the triggers of asthma attacks and makes an attack worse is bad air quality . that's particulate matter that's thrown off by fossil fuels. to the extent that we can broaden our mix of energy and broaden the discussion to say what we want is clone, green energy , that's what we really should be after. stop picking winners and losers within that. let's not just say there's only a certain kind of energy we're going to support. and talk about it -- don't be afraid to talk about it in terms of, oh, by the way, it helps to clean the air.
>> i want to switch topics just briefly because you've been thoughtful on this and i want to get you on the record on this. the party on same-sex marriage, talk about thinking differently. the party , rob portman , senator from ohio, republican, has come out and said i am now supportive of gay marriage . we've seen lots and lots republicans come out. you have signed on to a brief in support of the roll back of proposition 8 in california before the supreme court . is this an issue where republicans are caught in your mind in the past? this is an issue that the public has moved on and republicans need to move on? and how do you do that given that it is to a part of the base a deeply held belief, not just sort of an opinion they have?
>> well, but to that part of the base, i respect their opinion. i respect their right to feel the way they do. they also are the part of the base that feels government shouldn't be everywhere. they are the most libertarian of the libertarians. to me the most conservative position is get the government out of my bedroom. i think we should adopt what many of the european countries do. when you go down to get your license at the local office in your municipality, that's it. that's the extent of the state's involvement. where two consenting adults come in and say i want this person to be the recipient of my beneficiaries. i want him to talk for me if i'm incapacitated and leave marriage to the church, to the synagogue, to the mosque. if they will marry a gay couple, god bless them. if they won't, move on. but the state shouldn't be involved in marriage.
>> public opinion seems to be heading in one specific direction. christine, thank you. appreciate it.