During the “Post Game” portion of CNN’s coverage of the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) explained he wasn’t particularly interested in campaigning with President Barack Obama during his upcoming reelection effort.
Instead, the first-term Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper he would prefer Obama visit Alaska so that he could show him where his policies have gone wrong.
Transcript as follows:
TAPPER: I’m going to Wisconsin. I’ll be interviewing President Obama there on Thursday. In an interview that’s going to air Friday on CNN. I believe that the Democratic candidate who is running against the incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker, I believe she is not going to be appearing with President Obama in Wisconsin. That also happened when President Obama went to North Carolina and your colleague Sen. Scott Hagan did not appear with him.
If Sen. Obama — I’m sorry, President Obama wanted to go to Alaska to campaign with you, would you want him?
BEGICH: I’ll tell you when I ran and won was the same year he ran for his first election for the presidency. He lost Alaska by 22 points. I still won my election. If he wants to come up, I’m not really interested in campaigning. What I’d like him to do is see why his policies are wrong on Anwar for example. He opposes oil and gas development. I’d like to show him why it’s the right move to move that forward to create jobs in oil and gas.
He talked about energy a little bit tonight. Well, we have it right there, a store house of energy. I’d like to be able to show him some of the issues that we’ve battled with the federal government on and try to get his policy change that directly affect us.You know, we’re down in southeast Alaska. We have huge capacity for timber, but we run into problem after problem with his administration trying to get just simple permits to move forward. So if he wants to come up there and learn about Alaska, bring it on.
BASH: I think —
BEGICH: I’ll drag him around. I’ll show him whatever he wants to see. But I want to convince him and show him that some of his policies are not the right direction. So I don’t need him campaigning for me, I need him to change some of his policies.
TAPPER: Not a very traditional campaign appearance.
BASH: There’s as much distance between you and the president now as between here and Alaska. I just want to say after that answer.
BEGICH: You know — you know, we’ve had our differences as you know on oil and gas and arctic oil exploration. We’ve had some tug-of-war, we’ve had to really push him a long ways to get him to agree to move forward on what we think is an incredible oil and gas discovery opportunity. Thousands of jobs not only for Alaska.
But we battle all the time. I’d love to take him to Fairbanks and show him why the EPA is wrong in regards to air quality when we had no other alternative for fuel sources there.