COMMENTARY | Mitt Romney drilled into President Barack Obama for rejecting the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline during last night's CNN Southern Republican Debate.
The former Massachusetts Governor accused Obama of having "to bow to the most extreme members of the environmental movement."
"He turns down the Keystone Pipeline, which would bring energy and jobs to America," Romney said, according to the official debate transcript posted by CNN.
In a statement released on his campaign website Wednesday, Romney made similar comments.
"By declaring that the Keystone pipeline is not in the 'national interest,' the President demonstrates a lack of seriousness about bringing down unemployment, restoring economic growth, and achieving energy independence," he said. "He seems to have confused the national interest with his own interest in pleasing the environmentalists in his political base."
In his jobs plan, Romney promises to "ensure rapid progress on the Keystone XL Pipeline," and to "pave the way for the construction of additional pipelines that can accommodate the expected growth in Canadian supply of oil and natural gas in the coming years."
But Romney's support for the proposed oil pipeline contradicts his answer to a question posed by John Distaso, a veteran political reporter for the Union Leader, at a debate last summer in New Hampshire.
"Should governments at any level be able to use eminent domain for major projects that will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil?" Distaso queried.
"Well, I don't believe that land should be taken -- the power of government to give to a private corporation," Romney responded. "And so, the right of eminent domain is a right which is used to foster a public purpose and public ownership for a road, highways, and so forth. And so my view is, if land is going to be taken for purposes of a private enterprise, that's the wrong way to go."
Beyond the bright lights and shallow rhetoric of the campaign trail, opposition to Keystone XL is hardly limited to radical environmentalists. Even the conservative National Review Online has acknowledged that eminent domain is "an issue brewing that could derail the pipeline."
A report published by the New York Times last fall found that TransCanada, the foreign company behind the Keystone XL project, had already filed eminent domain lawsuits against 56 landowners in Texas and South Dakota.
It's something Mitt Romney should consider before he continues to attack President Obama and environmentalists for opposing the project.