Last month, Mitt Romney’s campaign released an ad slamming President Obama over his energy policies, while showing coal miners’ support for the Republican candidate. The clips used in the ad originate from a speech he gave in Beallsville, Ohio, outlining his energy plan.
As it turns out, many of those coal miners were forced to attend the campaign event — without pay — after being told their presence was “mandatory.” Several of the employees later explained how they were manipulated into an uncomfortable situation to WWVA radio host David Blomquist.
In response to Romney’s subterfuge, President Obama’s re-election campaign has released a new TV ad accusing Romney of using the miners as “props” to satisfy his political purposes. The ad features audio from Blomquist’s show, revealing how roll call was taken at the event, and how the miners “felt they would not have a job if they did not attend.”
Throughout this campaign, Romney has steadfastly expressed his support for the coal industry in Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. At the same time, he has railed against President Obama for regulations that hurt the industry — his “war on coal.” The message doesn’t seem to be resonating, however.
In Ohio, the likely target for this new ad, Obama is leading 49.0 to 43.5, as per the most recent Real Clear Politics average. In Virginia, Obama is ahead by a margin of 3.5 points, 47.8 to 44.5. He holds the biggest lead in Pennsylvania, where he is up by 8 points, 50.2 to 42.2. Overall, the consensus is that President Obama is ahead in most of the battleground states — the question is, why?
The number one issue on this campaign has been the economy’s slow recovery and lingering unemployment, two factors that Republicans counted on to unseat Obama. However, swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania have benefited from a surge in oil drilling and manufacturing. Virginia, meanwhile, is in a good position due to its constant federal workforce and high concentration of defense contractors.