President Obama aired a new ad in Ohio this week in which he decided it would be good politics to insult the millions of Americans who are choking on the pollution caused by coal-burning power plants. The ad says:
“When he ran for president, Barack Obama pledged to support clean coal and invest in new technologies, and here in Ohio, coal production’s increased 7 % since Obama took office … Obama’s also made one of America’s largest investments ever in clean coal technology, a $5 billion effort to create the next generation of coal-fired plants.”
The ad goes on to bash Mitt Romney for one of the more decent things he has ever done: boldly calling for the closure of a coal-burning power plant back when he was the governor of Massachusetts in 2003. Don’t believe it? Here’s video of what Romney said then:
The coal plant Romney’s talking about is in Salem, Mass. For sixty years, its pollution killed hundreds of people and caused asthma attacks, heart attacks and cancer. I know, because I lived in Massachusetts and have worked with many of the good people in Salem who worked tirelessly for years to shut it down. The plant is finally slated to close by 2014, thank goodness.
The irony is that the Salem coal plant is closing thanks in no small part to some of the strong health standards that President Obama has passed, such as a rule saying that coal plants shouldn’t be able to pump out unlimited amounts of mercury, a powerful neurotoxin.
President Obama should be bragging about that accomplishment from every rooftop in his campaign, not hiding from it and lampooning Mitt Romney for one of the only decent things he’s said amid a long political career of saying indecent things. I miss that Romney. He should come back and run for president.
As for President Obama: how dare you. Did you hope you could just write love notes to the coal industry while the millions of people inhaling coal pollution every day just pretended not to notice?
Is that your idea of good politics in an election year? Some of your closest allies don’t seem to agree. Senate Majority Leader Henry Reid called for the closure of a coal plant in his state this week, saying “It’s no secret coal plants kill. Each year, more than 24,000 deaths are attributed to emissions from coal-fired power plants in the United States alone.” Nevada’s a swing state too, the last time I checked.
Tell President Obama to pull this offensive ad, campaign proudly on the ways he actually has protected Americans from pollution, and stick to attacking Romney for the dumb things he’s done, not the smart ones. There’s plenty to choose from.