Hillary: Shut Lights, Hurt Chavez, Save Polar Bears

Another Hillary update from Niall Stanage:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign swing through Iowa brought her to a biotech company on the outskirts of Des Moines this morning – and brought Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez unexpectedly into her crosshairs.

The first question she received after a speech to employees of the Pioneer Hi-Bred International facility in Johnston raised the issue of the Chavez government. The former first lady assailed the Venezuelan president for fomenting “anti-Americanism across Latin America” and returned, in unusually personal terms, to one of the themes of her speech – how energy independence could prevent the transfer of American dollars to anti-American regimes.

“My late father was a child of the depression and he never left a room without turning out every light. Well, now I go around turning out the lights,” she said.

“If we said, ‘Turn off that light because we don’t want to send any more money to Chavez in Venezuela,’ that would make a difference.”

Hillary returned to her ‘turn out the lights’ recommendation in her closing remarks. She said she would like to see President Bush encourage American children to save energy by explaining how excessive consumption impacts upon the global environment.

“That polar bear trapped on the ice floe that you feel real sad about – well, turn off the lights,” she said.

The former First Lady largely kept her focus on the energy issue during her address to several hundred employees of the company, a DuPont subsidiary that develops and supplies hybrid seed corn. She compared the challenge of “moving towards energy security” to the battle waged against communism by her parents’ generation in the years after World War Two.

According to a company spokesman, Mrs. Clinton was the first presidential candidate to visit the facility during this election cycle. On previous occasions, Pioneer has played host to Al Gore and Newt Gingrich. The initial contact in arranging today’s event came from the Clinton campaign, the spokesman added.

Hillary insisted that energy innovation could be “the beginning of a revolution in our country” and noted that such a revolution “could be traced back to Iowa because you were ahead of the curve.”