Obama Knocks Romney for Saying True Things About Coal

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=55214056&rid=623645">Robert Fullerton</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Everyone knows election season is a time of craven politicking. But a new radio ad the Obama campaign is running in Ohio might be a new low, dinging Mitt Romney for remarking that coal “kills people.”

Here’s a clip of the ad, which is running in Ohio, via Politico:

“When he ran for President, Barack Obama pledged to support clean coal and invest in new technologies,” the ad says.

“And Mitt Romney? He’s attacking the president’s record on coal,” the narrator says. “Here’s what Romney said in 2003 at a press conference in front of a coal plant: ‘I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people.'”

The ad refers Romney’s remarks outside of the Salem Harbor Power Plant shortly after he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts. Here’s the thing: the plant Romney was talking about actually does kill people. A lawsuit enviros in the state filed to shut it down cited nearly 300 violations of the Federal Clean Air Act between 2005 and 2009. And if you factor in the human health problems burning coal creates, coal plants in general cost many million more dollars than our electric bills would indicate. Although Romney promised to shut down the plant, he never actually did; it’s now slated to go offline in 2014.

But here’s where Obama’s ad is really off-base. For one, there’s still no “clean coal” technology that’s ready to be deployed for new plants, let alone 60-plus-year-old plants like Salem. And two, Vice President Joe Biden said exactly the same thing a few years ago, noting that “hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives are shortened because of coal plants.” That’s because it’s true!

 

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate