Ad blitz hits Obama on coal in swing states

The ad uses comments Obama made in his 2008 campaign that the cap-and-trade emissions system he supported would raise electricity rates and “bankrupt” builders of coal-fired power plants.

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AEA plans to run another pro-coal ad “with a lot more money behind it” beginning next week in those states, as well as in Pennsylvania, Cole said. AEA still needs to finalize the script and decide whether to go for TV or radio, he said.

Both campaigns have stepped up their messaging and visits to coal-mining regions in swing states as the Nov. 6 election draws near.

Adam Fetcher, a spokesman with the Obama campaign, said the coal industry would fare better under Obama than Romney.

“The Obama administration has gone to lengths to make sure responsible regulations work with local circumstances and keep plants in business — and employment in the coal mining industry in Ohio has increased 10 percent since President Obama took office. In contrast, Governor Romney denied a coal plant an extension to comply with regulations, claiming that he will not ‘protect jobs that kill people,’ ” Fetcher said in an email, referring to comments Romney made in 2003 as governor of Massachusetts.

The coal industry has faced several high-profile mine closures in recent months. Republicans and Romney have seized on those to blast Obama’s energy policies and air pollution regulations initiated during his term as detrimental to jobs.

Many Democrats and the administration have said low natural-gas prices — which have reduced demand for coal — explain the coal industry’s recent struggles. They have also said retracting the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution rules would eliminate public health protections.

Still, Obama has sought to show that he backs coal, even as his administration has rolled out rules that the industry calls harmful.

In campaign stops, Obama has emphasized the $3 billion allotted for “clean coal” technology in the stimulus. He has said Romney would gut that funding by ending the programs, which also finance green energy projects.