GOP's claims about Obama puzzle environmentalists

By Dina Cappiello

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop at USAA, Thursday, March 22, 2012, in San Antonio, Iowa.

Eric Gay, Associated Press

NEW YORK — The leading Republican presidential hopefuls are casting President Barack Obama as an environmental extremist whose policies put him out of touch with the needs of ordinary Americans.

That's a characterization that surprises environmental activists and many of them say they've been let down by Obama.

As a candidate for president, Obama pledged to limit the gases that contribute to global warming and embrace cleaner forms of energy. But as he nears the end of his first term, Obama's record on the environment is mixed.

Many of his decisions irk the very activists who Republicans suggest have broad sway over White House policies.

The founder of the environmental group 350.org, Bill McKibben, says Obama is far too much in the political center for many environmentalists.

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