Hillary Clinton’s opponents are using her unwillingness to answer whether or not she would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline as a chance to slam the Democratic presidential frontrunner for not showing leadership.
“If you refuse to tell the voters where you stand on Keystone, perhaps you shouldn't be running for president,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tweeted. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted that the president “has to make a lot of tough calls,” but approving the pipeline is an easy one.
Clinton on Tuesday said she would not “second guess” President Obama’s forthcoming Keystone decision after she was asked by a voter whether she would support construction of the controversial pipeline. She said serving as secretary of state during the start of the Obama administration’s review of the project prevents her from weighing in.
"If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question," Clinton said during the New Hampshire town hall.
Clinton delivered a similar answer on Monday when asked about Keystone after laying out an ambitious plan to combat climate change.
“No other presidential candidate was secretary of state when this process started,” she told reporters.
Clinton’s silence on the issue has faced growing criticism from liberals as well as her Republican opponents.
“Real leadership is about forging public opinion on issues like Keystone -- not following it. Every Democrat should follow his lead and take a stand to commit to ending our reliance on fossil fuels," former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s deputy campaign manager said Monday.
O’Malley and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s two top rivals in the Democratic primary, have both been outspoken in their opposition to the pipeline that would transport oil from Canadian tar sands to the Gulf Coast.
“I will not do it and I’m sorry if people want me to,” Clinton told reporters after Tuesday’s town hall. “I’ve been very clear, I will not express an opinion until they have made a decision.”