Obama's pro-coal longshot

BARACK Obama has officially embraced coal as a critical campaign issue, with a new radio advertisement targeting a key Ohio swing demographic loyal to the state's robust sector of coal-based industries.
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Barack Obama

Justin Niessner

The radio spot touts Obama’s energy policy as supportive of clean coal technology investment and claims credit for a 10% hike in Ohio coal jobs and a 7% increase in the Buckeye State’s coal production since 2008.

The latest volley in the Obama-Mitt Romney coal contest also features a 2003 sound bite from the Republican speaking in front of a coal power facility, “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people.”

The remark made as Governor of Massachusetts seems unlikely to sway coal industry professionals who have long since entrenched their opinions about the Obama administration’s aggressive emissions policy and the “war on coal”

Instead, the presidential plea to appease what has become a key voting block may only serve to erode anti-coal votes from Obama’s base supporters and fuel continued criticism that campaigning rhetoric on the road to the White House is becoming increasingly hypocritical.

Mother Jones called the radio ad “a new low” in “craven politicking”, citing that no clean coal technology is ready for deployment and that Vice President Joe Biden had already made remarks similar to Romney’s about the public health risks of coal power plants.

Romney’s energy platform outlined on his website pledges to take a modernized approach to the US’ “outdated environmental laws”

“In my administration, coal will not be a four-letter word,” he said in the statement.

“Instead, we will applaud the industry’s success in consistently expanding electricity output while reducing pollution.”