McCain Digs for Coal-State Votes

Posted September 23, 2008 at 1:02pm

The campaign of Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) today unveiled the Coalition to Protect Coal Jobs, a nationwide group that includes Members of Congress, state government officials, “and other influential leaders,” according to the campaign.

Several of the leading coal-producing states, including Pennsylvania, Colorado, West Virginia and Virginia, are key swing states in the presidential election.

The new organization was announced in a campaign-sponsored teleconference that included Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), former Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.), former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan.

Capito and McInnis — like McCain during an appearance earlier today — seized on comments by Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), who said during a recent stop in Ohio that he and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) oppose “clean” coal.

“No coal plants here in America,” Biden said. The unscripted remark was made to someone questioning Biden on a rope line.

The comment contradicts the campaign’s official position. The Obama campaign Web site says Obama wants to “Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.”

The new McCain-backed group will seek to point out the benefits of clean coal.

The Obama campaign is preparing to respond with its own teleconference accusing McCain of opposing a plan to raise taxes on oil companies and invest in renewable energy.

The call will include Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).