2020 Election 2020 Presidential Race Democrats First in the Nation Joe Biden New Hampshire Politics

Joe Biden defends fundraiser with fossil fuel company co-founder while campaigning in New Hampshire

NEW CASTLE, N.H. Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday continued to defend his decision to attend a fundraiser hosted by the co-founder of a liquefied natural gas firm.

Under gloomy skies at a town hall event in New Castle, N.H., Biden was asked about the fundraiser by 24-year-old Rebecca Beaulieu of 350NH, an environmental activist group.

How can we trust that youre going to act on the climate crisis if youre still attending fundraisers that fossil fuel executives like Andy Goldman are at? Beaulieu said, referring to Andrew Goldman, the managing director of investment firm Hildred Capital Partners and co-founder of Western LNG, a firm developing a Canadian natural gas facility.

There were no executives there. I made a commitment, Biden said, adding, We all signed a pledge saying we would not accept any funding, any funding at all from any executive or anyone involved in the management of any energy company. No one is involved with an energy company.

Biden was referring to an activist-borne pledge signed by 18 of the Democratic presidential hopefuls not to take contributions of more than $200 from oil, gas, and coal industry executives, lobbyists, and PACs.

When shouted at from the crowd, Biden said, He did found a fossil fuel but he is not on the board or any of it, he does not run it at all. Goldman is currently listed on the Western LNG website as a co-founder.

And by the way, if you have a 401(k), do you have an investment in an oil company? Does that disqualify you to be engaged? Biden continued to applause, before launching into a defense of his climate record.

In the end, he returned to Beaulieu.

But kiddo, I want you to just take a look, OK? You dont have to agree, but I want you to look into my eyes, Biden said. I guarantee, I guarantee we are going to end fossil fuel.

Beaulieu said afterward she appreciated that Biden listened to her concerns but was dissatisfied with his response, and found his use of the word kiddo patronizing.

Going to that fundraiser is the same as accepting money from him, Beaulieu said, adding that she felt Biden was just making excuses.

She was also dissatisfied with the timeline of Bidens climate change plan, which calls for a $5 trillion investment to help the United States reach a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050.

His climate plans, I dont think theyre bold enough or tough enough, Beaulieu said.

The acknowledgement of Bidens latest flap came as he campaigned in the Granite State ahead of Saturdays New Hampshire State Democratic Convention, where he is among 19 candidates scheduled to speak between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the SNHU Arena in Manchester.

Biden heads into the fall campaign season still leading in polls and in a top three rounded out by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And Biden has the backing of big names: Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters that endorsed Biden, lauded the former vice president during an introduction in New Castle, while former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch welcomed him in Laconia.

Other candidates flooding the first-in-the-nation primary state this weekend will be looking for a breakout moment or to make a case for their relevance, said University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala.

Lynch said the race isnt locked up yet, but if a candidate is not in the top four or top five in the coming months, I think they end up dropping out.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

Joe Biden defends fundraiser with fossil fuel company co-founder while campaigning in New Hampshire Boston Herald.

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