“President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity and that to in order to create jobs, we need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs," said Critz in a statement in response to Obama's speech. "Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would be a good first step."
The statement — which was blasted out by his campaign — shows how toxic Obama is in parts of the Rust Belt, especially in a Republican-leaning district with a high level of steel and coal production in southwestern Pennsylvania. Critz has bucked Obama since he got into office — he has said he would have voted against climate change legislation and Democrats' healthcare reforms — but this is one of his most public rebukes to date.
The Hill rates Critz's race a "tossup" — and if Obama can't hold his own in that area, which touches the key swing states of Ohio and Virginia, Critz will need all the distance he can get from the president.