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After Sandy, Bill Clinton rails against Romney on global warming

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton gestures while speaking at a Students for Obama rally at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone

President Obama has temporarily suspended his campaign events in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, but former President Bill Clinton hit the trail on his behalf in Minnesota today and used the storm to explain why the president should be re-elected.

Speaking before a crowd of students at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Mr. Clinton recalled watching "the triumph of the moderate Mitt Romney" in the first presidential debate.

"He ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically efficient ways," Mr. Clinton said, adding that Romney said to the president mockingly, "You're going to turn back the seas." (While energy policy did come up in the debates, Romney never said that).

Mr. Clinton continued, "In my part of America, we would've liked it if somebody could've done that yesterday." The former president noted that cities like New York have to implement policies to prepare for the changing climate and said, "In the real world, Barack Obama's policies work better."

Specifically, Mr. Clinton criticized Romney for opposing tax credits for wind and solar energy, noting that 175,000 Americans are employed in those sectors. Wind and solar jobs are "good, middle-class jobs," Mr. Clinton said, while the United States has one of the world's highest capacities for wind and solar energy. "Why in the world would we walk away from that?" he asked.

The former president was making two campaign stops today at college campuses in Minnesota. The state should be a safe one for Mr. Obama, but the most recent poll there shows the president with just a three-point lead as Romney gains ground.

Mr. Clinton told the students the election is about "three big questions": which candidate is more likely to restore prosperity to the middle class, which is more likely to build a 21st century economy, and which candidate is more likely to keep the nation on the road towards a more perfect union.

"Amidst all of our differences, on those questions I don't think it's a close question," he continued. "Despite his 11th hour conversion to moderate rhetoric in the debates, Gov. Romney has not changed his position on the fundamental issues or his fundamental argument against the president."

Mr. Clinton took on Romney's promise to create 12 million jobs over the next four years, pointing out that independent analysts predict the economy, as long as it keeps moving in the right direction, should produce 12 million new jobs anyway.

"In other words, the argument is throw this guy out for the 12 million jobs that his policies made possible," he said. "I think the guy who should be at the helm is the person whose policies created those jobs to give us a more perfect union."