Henry Barbour, a member of the Republican National Committee and one of five GOP members tasked with developing a new GOP strategy following the failed 2012 elections, refused to say if climate change is one of the focal points his party should address, stating “there are two sides to every issue.”
During a Thursday appearance on NPR to discuss the Republican Party’s post-election revamping, Barbour fielded a question from a caller who lambasted the Republicans for ignoring climate change as a and refusing to accept its standing as a legitimate concern.
“The Republican Party has to be concerned with fixings its own problems,” said Barbour, a Mississippi Republican. “Whether it’s looking at the environment or whether it’s dealing with education, security or spending, or whatever it is.”
The program’s host then pressed Barbour on the caller’s question by saying, “you can’t fix these issues unless you acknowledge them first.”
“There are certainly two sides to every issue and I’m not going to site her and give you a position on climate change,” Barbour replied. “As a party, we must focus on the ideas that help improve the country, whatever those might be, we need to focus on the ideas that unite us and not divide us.”
Barbour, the nephew of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, was elected to the Republican National Committee in 2005 and has held crucial roles in several GOP campaigns. Last month, Barbour was appointed to the Growth and Opportunity Project, an initiative aimed at broadening the party’s appeal and responsible for examining where candidates failed during the 2012 election cycle.
“We must articulate our policies in a manner in which people can tell the benefit of what we’re trying to do,” Barbour told Bloomberg news. “Democrats were better at connecting with people in this regard and I think we came across as the old accountant too many times.”
Recent data suggests that climate change is an area where voters from both sides show great concern. Various polls released last month show that 83 percent of Democrats and over 70% of Republicans acknowledged rising temperatures, and 80 percent of total respondents stated that global warming is a serious problem.
These comments echo the GOP’s political tip-toeing when it comes to climate change. The bulk of GOP members feel that climate change is a non-issue.