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Climate Denier Candidate Opens Debate By Making Joke About California’s Drought

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First published on, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which was recently named one of Time magazine’s Top 25 blogs of 2010.

Environmentalists were anxiously hoping that Republican presidential candidates would be asked about California’s severe drought and wildfire situation during Wednesday night’s debate, which was held in Los Angeles. In the days leading up to the event, groups had been asking CNN moderator Jake Tapper to bring up the issues, and their connection to human-caused climate change.

Turns out Tapper didn’t even have to ask. In his opening statement, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) mentioned the drought. But instead of talking about its connection to climate change or its devastating impacts, Rubio attempted a joke.

“I’m aware that California has a drought, so I made sure I brought my own water,” he said, holding up a full plastic bottle.

No one appeared to laugh.

Rubio’s joke was referencing his infamous “water-bottle-gate” moment of 2013. He was delivering the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union speech when he became visibly overwhelmed, and took what many considered to be the most awkward sip of water ever seen.

But the drought itself may not have been the best choice for a joke. Right now, an unprecedented wildfire season driven by drought is raging through the state, displacing thousands. Economically, the University of California Davis estimates the drought has cost California about $2.7 billion this year.

Right now, California is drier than its been in 500 years, and many scientists attribute the severity to climate change. But Marco Rubio doesn’t think climate change is a problem, which added to the awkwardness of his drought joke.

The reaction from Twitter was less than positive:

The post Climate Denier Candidate Opens Debate By Making Joke About California’s Drought appeared first on ThinkProgress.


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