Pueblo Politics: Paton, Giffords and bin Laden spar on solar

2010-06-22T15:36:00Z 2010-06-22T17:29:45Z Pueblo Politics: Paton, Giffords and bin Laden spar on solarAndrea Kelly Arizona Daily Star
June 22, 2010 3:36 pm  • 

U.S. Congressional candidate Jonathan Paton is questioning Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ statement recently about carbon emissions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Republican candidate contends solar panels must be Giffords’ top concern in the war, based on her question to Gen. David Petraeus at a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week.

In a news release Monday, Paton’s campaign said Giffords asked Petraeus what he is doing “to reduce carbon emissions while fighting terrorists.”

He said that was disturbing, and taking her focus on solar energy too far.

“Of all the things we need to be worrying about, that’s her main focus?” Paton said in the news release. “Our soliders are in harms way, and she’s worried about solar panels.”

Giffords responded with her own news release, in which she cites the Defense Department’s renewable energy initiatives and need for renewable, reliable energy. She said Paton’s statement “completely fails to understand why our nation’s top military leaders consider our dependence on fuel a strategic disadvantage, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Giffords’ news release cites an unlikely source to help with her argument.

“Even Osama bin Laden recognizes the threat posed by our military’s dependence on fuel supply, calling oil our military’s ‘umbilical cord’ and telling terrorists to ‘focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause the [Americans] to die off,’” the Giffords release says.

The two camps also got into a spat over spelling. Paton, who is a soldier, spelled the post "solider" and Giffords said his release was "sloppily written" and rushed for quick political gain.

Republican candidate Brian Miller entered the fray Tuesday, as well, with a news release saying none of his opponents understand the war.

Miller called Giffords' energy comments "a disgrace" and said they were for political grandstanding.

He went on to say all his CD8 opponents, including Giffords, "have shown little respect for the gravity and seriousness of the office... Foreign policy is not just a game - it is the lives of those who defend us and the security of our nation."

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The Arizona Daily Star's Pueblo Politics blog includes stories and related items from the Tucson and Pima County political scene written by Star reporters Becky Pallack and Joe Ferguson.

Have a political topic you would like to see in the blog or suggestions? Email Becky Pallack at bpallack@tucson.com and Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com

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