The second YouTube video capturing 47th Congressional district candidate Gary DeLong in a less than desireable political position--defense--has now entered a heated and nationally watched race for the Long Beach-Orange County seat.
DeLong, a Republican and a Long Beach City Councilman, on Sunday told a Rossmoor residents group that while he has not taken a formal position on whether climate change is real, "I don't see any scientific evidence ... that that is occuring."
On Wednesday, a day after the video was flagged to the media by his opponent, Democratic State Senator Alan Lowenthal, DeLong's campaign spokeksman released a statement. Short version: he does believe in man-made causes for climate change.
Until Wednesday, you could watch the video on DeLong's website, pertinent section being at 10:20. It has since been made private. But you can still see it attached here.
You can watch the video sent by the Lowenthal campaign, which has better sound quality and is edited to the precise comment.
At the residents forum in Rossmoor--based on the video of it on DeLong's campaign site, which has now been taken down--DeLong was asked by an audience member whether he believed climate change was real and if so, what the government should be doing about it.
At first, he says it is questionable, he does not have all the answers, but steers the rest of his anwer at opposing implied government regulation on "the private sector." Pressed for his position, he goes on to say he neither has a position nor believes science backs the widely held scientific community's position that it does--widely challenged by so-called "deniers.'
Wednesday afternoon, DeLong's campaign responded with his statement, contradicting his Sunday remarks:
"The environment is society's most vital resource. There is no question that human behavior impacts the environment. Further, climate change is influenced by man and by natural conditions."
Lowenthal's campaign was quick to jump on what it dubbed DeLong denying scientific evidence that it claimed would be contrary to the position of big industry such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that has financed an anti-Lowenthal attack ad.
"That's like saying the sky is blue, but I'm not taking a position on it. Abortion is murder, but I'm not taking a position on it. Evolution is just a theory, but I'm not taking a position on it," Lowenthal campaign consultant Mike Shimpock said in response to DeLong's Wednesday e-mail statement."
Orange County Register political blogger Greg Diamond had a field day with the flip-flop, headlining the item, "Stupid Candidate Tricks: Gary DeLong Denies Science of Climate Change.'
DeLong needs Republican voters to turn out at the polls in the Western Orange County cities of the 47th District, including Rossmoor and Los Alamitos, because Democratic registration outnumbers Republican. In an election where both parties are fighting a ground war for every seat, casting candidates as bipartisan moderates is the strategy for winning undecided and Independent voters. This and several other California races are being flooded with national party money and interests.
"This guy wants to be a legislator, sent from an educated and scientifically advanced state, of the most powerful country in the world .... For those of you who are keeping track, this means that this one below is now only the second-most embarrassing Gary DeLong video of the year."
The first was taken a few weeks ago at a Friday night candidate forum at Cal State Long Beach's Pyramid and captured a physical scuffle over a Democratic Party video tracker's cell phone camera, followed by a 10-minute protracted confrontaton in which DeLong gives the phone to the League of Women Voters, then his campaign manager and other workers or staffers try to block her view of the candidate. DeLong has defended his behavior and called the tracker, common to campaigns and something Lowenthal has noted at his events, a "stalker."