The two presidential candidates stomped into the other party’s territory Sunday, with Sen. Barack Obama making a run for “red” Ohio, while Sen. John McCain battled to put “blue” Pennsylvania in his column with the aid of automated calls using Mr. Obama’s own words to accuse him of planning to bankrupt the coal industry.
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, targeted voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other coal-producing states with “robocalls” saying that “coal jobs, which are so important to our community, are in jeopardy. … Listen to Barack Obama’s plans to bankrupt the coal industry.”
Republican US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio. White House front-runner Barack Obama dueled with John McCain on the penultimate day of the epic 2008 campaign, presenting a tableau of his loving family and vowing to change America.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Hondros)
The call then plays an excerpt from a January interview that Mr. Obama gave the San Francisco Chronicle in which he defends his proposal for a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of carbon dioxide by requiring power plants and others to buy the right to emit the harmful gas.
Listen to Obama’s plans for the coal states.
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” he said.
The Obama campaign denounced the RNC calls as taking his quote “wildly” out of context, saying that elsewhere in the interview, Mr. Obama calls the idea of banning coal burning “an illusion.”
“The point Obama is making is that we need to transition from coal-burning power plants built with old technology to plants built with advanced technologies – and that is exactly the action that will be incentivized under a cap-and-trade program,” an Obama spokesman told ABC News.
In a town-hall meeting Sunday night in New Hampshire, where environmentalism is a strong force, Mr. McCain was asked whether he would oppose coal-burning plants that don’t have carbon-sequestration technology.
“I want to tell you that I would, but I can’t,” he said, noting that the technology is still in its infancy and raises the cost of power. He also noted that current coal-burning plants, which are mostly old but provide half of the nation’s electricity, would need to be handled differently under any climate-control rules.