- 350 Action
A group of activists are photobombing Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire with critical messages about their positions on climate change.
The latest target of the environmental group 350 Action‘s photo campaign was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on Tuesday morning, when an advocate unveiled a shirt in front of him that declared, “I’M WITH CLIMATE DENIER.”
Elaine Colligan, a 22-year-old fellow with 350 Action, subsequently told Business Insider that the stunt is a throwback to the famous novelty “I’m With Stupid” T-shirts.
“Every presidential candidate, especially Republicans, needs to be better on climate change,” Colligan said in a phone interview. “Our job is to make climate denial look as ridiculous as it is.”
In addition to Rubio, activists have snuck into photos with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). In the case of Walker, 350 Action tricked the governor into posing with a giant fake check from David and Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist conservative megadonors.
The Walker photobomb:
Pretty sure Scott Walker doesn’t realize what the front of this sign says: pic.twitter.com/dmeftDAWBz
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) August 3, 2015
“We had the idea to pose with a fake check with Scott Walker,” Colligan recalled. “[We thought] that if we somehow got him to pose with us with a fake check, there’d be an image out there exposing how bought out he was by the Koch brothers.”
Colligan said “the power of images to sway people’s opinions” inspired the continued campaign, which she said featured four 350 Action members in New Hampshire ready to drop into presidential campaign events and publicize their message.
In particular, she said her group wanted to call out politicians who accept that climate change is happening but oppose the policy prescriptions that activists feel are necessary to curb the damage.
The Republican campaigns aren’t always welcoming the 350 Action activists. Colligan said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) staff successfully shielded the candidate from photobomb attempts.
“We were thrown out of the Scott Walker event by the manager of that pizza shop. At later events, like Jeb Bush the other day, I was recognized by one of the staffers,” she said. “Jeb Bush’s campaign staff … they usually physically block me out. They have a couple of security people that just stand right in front of us. They’re aggressive. So we just try to get more folks involved.”
Colligan personally managed to get into a photo with Kasich, however.
“When I was with Kasich the other day, I had a hoodie kind of zipped up, and when I got right behind him I just unzipped it. You have to be a little sneaky,” she said.
The Kasich photobomb:
Another activist, Julie Laudon, did the same for Paul:
— 350 Action (@350action) September 2, 2015
Colligan also said she and her colleagues will frequently engage the crowd at the Republican events about climate-change policy.
“People come up to us and say, ‘What was that’s about? What’s climate denial?'” she said.
A 350 Action spokesman told Business Insider that the campaign is helping to drive the national conversation about environmental issues. The spokesman, Karthik Ganapathy, noted that his group has also needled former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner.
“Whether it’s ramping up pressure on Hillary Clinton over Keystone XL, or getting Jeb Bush to go on the record against fossil fuel subsidies,” Ganapathy said, “we’ve already made our mark.”