President Obama touted wind and Mitt Romney praised coal in an energetic battle for Midwestern voters tied to each industry.
At an appearance in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Obama slammed Mitt Romney’s sarcastic dismissal of wind energy from March, when he said that “you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”
“I don’t know if he’s actually tried that,” Obama joked Tuesday. “I know he’s had other things on his car.”
Obama is hoping Romney’s mocking remarks directed at alternative energy will backfire in Iowa, where wind energy is a growing business that benefits from federal tax credits. Obama noted that the wind industry supports 7,000 jobs in Iowa and 75,000 around the country, and provides 20 percent of the state’s electricity.
“These jobs aren’t a fad — they’re good jobs and sources of pride we need to fight for,” he said.
Meanwhile in Bealsville, Ohio, Romney stood outside a coal mine to extoll the virtues of fossil fuel and attack Obama for, he said, lying about his true intentions when it comes to coal.
Obama has had a complicated relationship with coal. He supports the development of “clean coal technology,” a stance that has put him at odds with progressives. Republicans don’t believe Obama supports the coal industry, a view Romney attempted to leverage in his Ohio stop.
“His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that?” Romney said. “This tells you precisely what he actually feels.”
Romney has long tried to use Obama’s support for alternative energy against him. He’s attacked Obama over the Energy Department plan to bolster growth in solar and other alternative-energy sources.
Democrats have their own lines of attack against Romney: They note that in 2003, he attacked a coal plant in Massachusetts under fire from environmentalists, saying the facility “kills people.”
Democrats revived Romney’s past anti-coal comments after his Tuesday appearance.
“Only one candidate in this race actually has a record of finding a clean future for coal and that’s President Obama,” said Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokesperson. “This stands in stark contrast to Mitt Romney, who, as governor of Massachusetts, spoke out against coal jobs and said that a coal-fired plant ‘kills people.’ This is just another issue where Mitt Romney is not being honest with the American people.”