On Friday, during a Congressional hearing on the Obama Administration’s proposal for a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gases, Al Gore had to defend his honor. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican Congresswoman from Gore’s home state of Tennessee, questioned his motivations behind supporting the proposal because of his investments in green startups through his role at Kleiner Perkins, where he is a partner. (Watch the video above, courtesy of Talking Points Memo).
Blackburn comes off as clueless and Gore comes off as defensive. She didn’t seem to know too much about Kleiner Perkins other than that it is a “capital firm” and that it has invested “$1 billion in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and-trade legislation,” or at least that is what she gathered from an old New York Times Magazine article. “Are you aware of that company?” she asked him.
Then she asked Gore if he stood to personally benefit financially from these investments, and that set him off:
Congresswoman, if you believe the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don’t know me.
He pointed out that “every penny” he makes from these investments, his book, and movie go to the nonprofit Alliance For Climate Protection. Blackburn responded by saying that she was just trying to get clarity on the issue, but Gore was having none of it:
I understand exactly what you are doing Congresswoman. Everybody here does. . . . I’ve been willing to put my money where my mouth is. Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country? I am proud of it.
Is this video from a parallel universe or did the Republican Party become anti-capitalist all of a sudden?