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GOP's claims about Obama puzzle environmentalists

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, March 22, 2012. President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, March 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
By Beth Fouhy and Dina Cappiello
Associated Press / March 23, 2012
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NEW YORK—The leading Republican presidential hopefuls are casting President Barack Obama as an environmental extremist whose policies put him out of touch with the needs of ordinary Americans.

That's a characterization that surprises environmental activists and many of them say they've been let down by Obama.

As a candidate for president, Obama pledged to limit the gases that contribute to global warming and embrace cleaner forms of energy. But as he nears the end of his first term, Obama's record on the environment is mixed.

Many of his decisions irk the very activists who Republicans suggest have broad sway over White House policies.

The founder of the environmental group 350.org, Bill McKibben, says Obama is far too much in the political center for many environmentalists.

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