CORRECTION, Oct. 19, 2020: The Western Journal has removed references in this commentary to Sen. Harris “lying” during the debate and added additional information throughout the commentary to provide additional context for Harris’ comments. We have also added a link to the Biden campaign website to allow readers to see Biden’s platform for themselves.
What Harris did was state a position contrary to positions she had stated previously, and apparently contrary to statements made earlier by former Vice President Biden — but those statements were later “clarified” (i.e., walked back) by the Biden campaign. As Politifact has correctly pointed out, Biden’s official campaign website does not indicate any intention on Biden’s part to ban fracking completely. Harris’ own position may or may not have changed since her earlier statements, but as the vice-presidential candidate, she is now obligated to voice support for Biden’s position as documented on the campaign website.
Sen. Harris’ statement that Biden “has been very clear about that” is patently untrue to any objective observer — even Politifact has referred to his statements on the issues as having “led to some confusion on his stance.” However, it is the kind of untruth that is defensible as being based on opinion, since “very clear” is a subjective descriptor.
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California revealed a significant positional shift on fracking policy Wednesday night at the 2020 vice presidential debate, apparently contradicting a history of statements from her and her running mate to defend against claims a Biden-Harris administration would ban American hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.
The claim came as Harris sparred with incumbent Vice President Mike Pence over how best to address the issue of climate change.
“Joe Biden will not end fracking,” Harris said. “He has been very clear about that.”
Harris provided neither explanation nor qualifiers, her campaign simply going on to suggest the claim was “fact” in a statement published to Twitter moments later.
.@JoeBiden will not ban fracking. That is a fact.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 8, 2020
The Biden campaign website does not call for a ban on fracking, but the California Democrat’s words appeared to contradict multiple statements made on record by her and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with regard to the topic throughout the course of the wider 2020 election cycle.
According to the Washington Examiner, Harris herself suggested during a town hall hosted by CNN in the heat of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary last September that she would take action to ban hydraulic fracturing on public lands on “day one” if elected president.
“There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking,” Harris told the audience.
Kamala Harris: “There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.”
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 8, 2020
The promise, falling directly in line with those made by self-professed democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, could cost the United States roughly 7.5 million jobs if fulfilled, RealClearEnergy reported, citing the American Petroleum Institute.
Those comments were made, however, prior to Biden’s choice of Harris as his running mate.
The supposedly moderate Biden has made similar statements in the past, although his campaign has generally walked those back, indicating that the only “ban” on fracking would come as part of his promise to ban new permits for fossil fuel production on federally owned lands.
Nonetheless, social media users were quick to point out the apparent discrepancy on Twitter, posting several individual videos, and even a few super-cut compilations, of Biden promising there would be “no more, no new fracking” under his administration.
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) October 8, 2020
Throughout the course of the campaign, Biden has promised to not only put the squeeze on hydraulic fracturing, but American fossil fuel production as a whole.
According to The Associated Press, the former vice president promised as much in a “intimate” public moment with a young woman on the trail in New Hampshire last September.
“I want you to look at my eyes. I guarantee you. I guarantee you,” Biden said. “We’re going to end fossil fuel.”
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