Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made a claim so false during Thursday’s final presidential debate in Tennessee that even far-left CNN had to correct the record.
Biden’s game of musical chairs with fracking has become an issue throughout the final leg of the campaign, especially in Pennsylvania, where energy equates to food on the table for many families in the battleground state.
By 2025, a ban on fracking would result in the loss of 609,000 jobs that would have otherwise existed, as well as $23.4 billion less in state and local tax revenues, according to a 2019 study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.
Biden has caused plenty of confusion during the last year and a half by being very unclear regarding where he stands on banning fracking.
On Thursday, he had his feet held to the fire by President Donald Trump, and it didn’t go too well for the former vice president.
Trump, when speaking about the economic cost of liberal energy proposals, told the Democratic nominee, “It’s all a pipe dream, but you know what we’ll do? We’re going to have the greatest economy in the world. But if you want to kill the economy, get rid of your oil industry. You want — and what about fracking?”
Biden responded, “I have never said I oppose fracking.”
“You said it on tape,” Trump fired back.
Biden replied, “Show the tape. Put it on your website.”
The president concluded, “I’ll put it on.”
Trump made right on that promise immediately following the debate:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2020
Around the same time Trump’s campaign was reminding Biden of his past comments about fracking, even CNN was reminding its viewers that Biden hadn’t been truthful.
In a conversation with CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, network anchor Anderson Cooper rolled the tape proving Biden had previously expressed support for ending fracking.
Dale told Cooper, “So, in this case, Trump is correct. Biden did make anti-fracking comments during the Democratic primary in 2019 and 2020, and Trump was not lying.”
CNN then aired a July 2019 clip where Biden appeared to signal that he was opposed to fracking, and indeed, all fossil fuels.
“Would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked during a primary debate.
“No, we would work it out, we would make sure it’s eliminated, and no more subsidies for either one of those, any fossil fuel,” Biden said.
Dale thus concluded Biden’s Thursday comments were “just false.”
“Biden did not say the words ‘I oppose fracking’ there, but he clearly was at least very strongly suggesting that he was an opponent,” Dale said regarding the 2019 clip.
“Now the thing about this, the nuance here, is that that was never Biden’s policy position. So we had this weird semi-comical cycle during the primary where Biden would make these broad, anti-fracking comments, and then his campaign spokespeople would have to say, ‘No, no, that’s not his actual plan. His actual plan,’ as it is today, ‘is a ban on new leases for oil and gas on public land only.’
“So Biden is not actually proposing a complete fracking ban, but it’s just false for Biden to say that he never said he opposed fracking,” Dale said.
Additionally, in a fact check published on the CNN website, the network noted, “Facts First: It’s false that Biden never said he opposed fracking. In two Democratic primary debates, Biden made confusing remarks over fracking that his campaign had to clarify. In 2019, Biden said ‘we would make sure it’s eliminated’ when asked about the future of coal and fracking; in 2020 he said he opposed ‘new fracking.'”
That one stings. But the point is more or less moot.
Later in the debate, Biden let his mask slip off with regard to how he truly feels about American jobs.
Trump asked Biden, “Would you close down the oil industry?”
Biden answered, “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.”
He added, “The oil industry pollutes, significantly — here’s the deal — well, if you let me finish the statement, because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”
“I’d stop giving to the oil industry — I’d stop giving them federal subsidies. He won’t give federal subsidies to the gas and, excuse me, to solar and wind. Why are we giving it to the oil industry?”
Biden definitely lost the night, especially with regard to his answers about killing American energy independence.
But it’s more salt in the wound for the 77-year-old, now that the dust has settled, that Biden was corrected by CNN in the process.
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