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Romney Focuses On Coal And Energy Policy In Ohio


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. From NPR News, I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

The four men on the two presidential tickets are clocking miles in swing states, on buses, cars and planes and carrying on a broad debate.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This choice could not be bigger. It's not just a choice between two candidates. It's not just a choice between two political parties. It is a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how America became great and how it's going to stay great.

CORNISH: President Obama continued his bus tour through Iowa today, and we'll hear more from him later this hour. Mitt Romney headed to Ohio and continued his attacks on the president.

MITT ROMNEY: He's an eloquent spokesman, but he's not telling you the things he's actually done or will do.

CORNISH: NPR's Ari Shapiro is traveling with Mitt Romney and sent this story from the road.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: As Mitt Romney's motorcade rolled from West Virginia into Ohio, huge banners said: Save Eastern Ohio, Fire Obama. This is coal mining country.

LARRY MCCONE: My family has five generations of coal miners.

SHAPIRO: Larry McCone(ph) says he's afraid for what's going to happen to his sons and grandsons.

MCCONE: If Obama kills the coal jobs, what jobs are there in this valley for us to go to? We have nothing.

SHAPIRO: Romney stood in front of dozens of men in hard hats and worn blue work shirts. He accused President Obama of choking the coal industry and promised to do the opposite.

ROMNEY: If you believe that the whole answer for our energy needs is wind and solar, why, say that, because I know he says that to some audiences out West. But it's time to tell the people of America what you believe.

SHAPIRO: Democrats say the president has always believed that coal is part of America's energy future. In fact, employment in the coal mines has hit a 15-year high under President Obama. And the Obama campaign highlighted this quote from Mitt Romney in front of a coal plant in 2003.


SHAPIRO: Campaign aide Kevin Madden told reporters safety is important, but Romney believes jobs are number one.

KEVIN MADDEN: Well, I think he's made very clear where he stands on this position, that he believes that it's an important part of all-of-the-above energy policy.

SHAPIRO: This stretch of Appalachia has always been hostile to President Obama. To win Ohio, Romney will need to turn that dissatisfaction with the incumbent into a passion for the challenger. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, traveling with the Romney campaign. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.