Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gained a vital endorsement in New Hampshire Monday when the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund called her the most qualified and prepared candidate in the field.
“We think the stakes are so high, there is so much at stake, we need to get in now to make sure Hillary wins,” Gene Karpinski, head of the environmentalist group, told CNN on Monday. “That is why we are here. We have got to win.”
The conservation group has a history of endorsing winning candidates who also align with their values. The group endorsed Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe in 2006 and Susan Collins in 2014, saying their bipartisan leadership made them ideal candidates. Their endorsement is sought after by both sides of the political field.
Karpinski said Clinton showed “leadership” and “experience” that set her apart from the rest of the candidates, but praised all three democratic candidates’ environmental records.
“We endorsed Hillary Clinton today, as we made clear, because we believe she will be the most effective person to get the job done from Day One,” he said.
However, the Bernie Sanders campaign is crying foul, citing the voting record difference between the two candidates.
“Bernie’s record on the environment is unbeatable,” said Michael Briggs, Sanders’ spokesman. “That’s why he was endorsed by Friends of the Earth. That’s why Bill McKibben called him ‘the most aggressive voice in the Senate’ on climate issues.”
“He has a 95 [percent] lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. The league agreed with former Sen. Clinton only 82 [percent] of the time, so its endorsement is based on something other than the merits.”
After the endorsement event, Karpinski didn’t answer questions about the Sanders’ campaign complaint, but many supporters of the group took to social media to complain, according to the Washington Post.
“Bernie is obviously the better choice when it comes to environmental issues!!!!” posted Kimberlee Nelson. “He doesn’t have to think twice when it comes to protecting the environment, unlike Hillary. ugh.”
Hillary Clinton also ignored the complaint from the Sanders’ camp and instead spoke to how much the endorsement means to her.
“Having this endorsement means so much to me personally,” Clinton said. “I believe strongly that we can make the case, we can convert some of the skeptics, but it will only happen if we are going to be stalwart in our focus on this issue in being central not only to this campaign but for everything we do politically going forward.”
Clinton also said the endorsement would allow her “to start the process of being your partner as we build on the progress that has been made against pretty steep odds, and keep going here at home and around the world.”
“Because after all,” she told the New Hampshire crowd. “I think we have to use every tool we have. There is no Planet B, this is it.”
Clinton also touted her achievements as Secretary of State under President Obama, saying that if an international deal on climate action could be reached “it will be built on the foundation that the President and I laid in Copenhagen.”
When asked about the possibility of the longshot deal being reached, Hillary Clinton said she was very hopeful.
Republicans had their eye on the endorsement as well, but after losing it, used it to attack Clinton’s “ideology,” saying that a Clinton presidency would undermine America’s economic viability.
“It’s clear Hillary Clinton plans to put ideology ahead of jobs, just like when she opposed the Keystone Pipeline,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short. “Too many families are being left behind in the Obama economy, and Hillary Clinton’s anti-energy agenda will only make it harder to raise wages and put more Americans back to work.”
[Photo by Scott Eisen / Getty Images]