Environmental Group Gets Heated with Edwards

By Jake Whitman

Nov 6, 2007 10:09pm

ABC News’ Raelyn Johnson reports: John Edwards believes he has the most comprehensive plan on global warming but at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth New Hampshire, that wasn’t enough for one audience member.

Sam Witherbee an organizer with the Carbon Coalition organization, stood up during the question and answer period  and criticized Edwards for not speaking directly about climate change in his opening speech. Witherbee was upset that he was the first to bring the issue up.

Edwards, who divides his time between addressing voters and then answering their questions, adamently defended the format of the town hall.

"I could spend 30, 45 minutes in every town hall meeting giving speeches, or I can answer questions," said Edwards. "Now if you want me to roll in like other presidential candidates and give a long speech shake on on few hands and leave I can do that. I think I show more respect to voters in New Hampshire answering your questions."

Edwards response to Witherbee was quickly met by applause from the audience and he began to talk about various enviromental issues.

After the event, Witherbee told ABC News, "I think it’s great he leaves a lot of time for Q & A,  but no event should go by without a mention of climate change." Witherbee says Carbon Coalition members have canvassed the state closely listening to democratic and republican presidential candidates and added that he was not trying to critique Edwards’ proposed policies, rather the timing of which he spoke about them this particular evening.

After the event in Portsmouth, Edwards attended a town hall in Durham where another audience member affiliated with Carbon Coaliton expressed the same concerns.

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