Clinton: Republicans are denying the United States clean energy jobs

Story highlights

  • On clean energy, Clinton says GOP "denying people jobs and middle-class incomes"
  • Political answer is a departure from the nonpartisan answers Clinton gave months ago
  • Clinton calls concerns over hydraulic fracturing legitimate and pressing

Hillary Clinton used a softball climate change question on Thursday to step up her political rhetoric and hit Republicans for "denying people jobs and middle-class incomes."

The answer was telling because Clinton turned a benign, nonpartisan question into a political talking point, something that months ago she would likely not have done.

"The hardest part for me of this whole false choice debate that has gone on too long is that aside from the deniers and the folks who want to pretend that we don't have a crisis is the fact that we are leaving money and jobs behind," Clinton said at the Clean Energy Summit 7.0, describing the choice between investing in clean energy and growing the American economy.

Clinton added: "For those on the other side, they have to answer to the reality they are denying people jobs and middle-class incomes and upward mobility by their refusal to look to the future."

For months, Clinton has crisscrossed the country as part of her time on the speaking circuit and on her book tour. The former secretary of state is widely seen as the front-runner to be the Democrat's presidential nominee in 2016 and, although she has not announced she is running, she has admitted she is thinking about it and will likely make a decision at the start of 2015.

2016: Clinton vs. Warren?
2016: Clinton vs. Warren?


    2016: Clinton vs. Warren?


2016: Clinton vs. Warren? 02:44

As that decision date moves closer, Clinton appears to be getting more comfortable with giving political answers. She has also stepped up her political schedule, with events with a cadre of Democratic groups in September.

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Clinton also weighed in on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting oil.

The former first lady called concerns over fracturing legitimate and pressing. She added that in light of the practice, "it is crucial that we put in place smart regulations and enforce them, including deciding not to drill when the risks are too high."

The answer was similar to what Clinton writes in her memoir "Hard Choices."

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Clinton was being interviewed by John Podesta on Thursday. Podesta, a former chief of staff for Bill Clinton who now works for President Barack Obama, attended a meeting of Democratic operatives in late July and, according to Politico, is being eyed as Clinton's likely campaign chairman in 2016.

His response to her political answer: "That is great. And I think we need to keep repeating that argument."