• President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

    President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while ... granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 20, 2015 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at a news conference in Chicago. Rauner is reviewing a federal plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants to determine whether the state should comply or challenge the new rules. The first-term Republican's office responded, Monday Aug. 3, 2015, to s scheduled climate change announcement by President Barack Obama with a one-sentence statement that his administration is assessing the measure and its "impacts on Illinois." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

    FILE - In this March 20, 2015 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at a news conference in Chicago. Rauner is reviewing a federal plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants to determine whether the state should comply or ... challenge the new rules. The first-term Republican's office responded, Monday Aug. 3, 2015, to s scheduled climate change announcement by President Barack Obama with a one-sentence statement that his administration is assessing the measure and its "impacts on Illinois." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File) (The Associated Press)

  • President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while ... granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (The Associated Press)

Obama's sweeping new power plant rules spark a 2016 campaign fight over climate change

Energy Associated Press

President Barack Obama's sweeping new power plant regulations are thrusting the divisive debate over climate change into the race for the White House, with candidates in both parties seeing an opportunity to capitalize.

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To Democrats, rallying around climate change is a way to energize liberal supporters and paint Republicans as out of touch with the majority of Americans. To the GOP, Obama's executive actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions are burdensome to business and block job creation, an argument aimed at tapping into Americans' worries about the economy.

The president unveiled the plan at the White House on Monday, calling it the "single most important step" the U.S. has taken to combat global climate change.