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TPaw: Cap-and-trade support 'a mistake' (that other GOP hopefuls share)

Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty called his previous support for cap-and-trade legislation “a mistake” on Monday, noting that other GOP presidential candidates have also backpedaled on similar measures to manage climate change.

“Anybody who’s going to run for this office who’s been in an executive position or may run has got some clunkers in their record,” he said on the Laura Ingraham Show. “As to climate change – or more specifically cap-and-trade - I’ve just come out and admitted and said, ‘Look, it was a mistake. It was stupid. I’m not going to try to defend it.’”

The former Minnesota governor signed a bill in 2007 that authorized a task force “to recommend how the state could adopt" a cap-and-trade system. The same year, he also joined onto an accord with five other governors urging the creation of “a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism.”

And he appeared in a radio ad – played by Ingraham during the Monday segment – in which he and then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano urged Congress to curb greenhouse gas emissions and create “enviro-friendly” jobs.  The ad, aired in January 2008, was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Action Fund.

Pawlenty, who last week announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, said on Monday that cap-and-trade measures are a “ham-fisted, unhelpful, damaging thing to the economy.”

Without naming any specific candidates, he noted that he’s not the only GOP hopeful who has previously warned of the dangers of climate change and advocated for market-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Everybody in the race, at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another, every one of us, so there's no one who has been in executive position whose name is being bantered in a first or second-tier way who hasn't embraced it in some way," he said.

Potential Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have backed off of previous support for carbon regulations, as have Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. (Here's Time'guide to some of the major Republican contenders' positions on global warming.)