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Obama, Romney talk energy in battleground states

 

President Obama promotes wind energy in Iowa while Mitt Romney defends the coal industry before a group of miners in Ohio

By Christi Parsons and Seema Mehta

Los Angeles Times

OSKALOOSA, Iowa — President Obama visited an Iowa farm Tuesday where a family grows corn and soybeans while also generating wind energy with several turbines on their 1,000 acres. Republican Mitt Romney spent time at an Ohio coal mine, speaking in front of hard-hat-wearing workers whose livelihood depends on continued demand for their often-maligned product.

In grand terms, the fight between Obama and Romney over energy policy centers on the role of federal regulators in protecting public health and promoting particular industries for the good of the country.

Obama has pressed for newer technologies such as wind and solar, arguing that they create a path away from dependence on foreign energy supplies. Romney says the same goal should be accomplished by increasing the use of oil, coal and natural gas reserves.

But in the fierce campaign for the two hotly contested states, where a few thousand votes could mean the difference in November’s presidential election, their ideology has given way to a more basic consideration: local jobs.

Speaking in a verdant Appalachian valley dotted with coal mines, Romney said Obama was “waging a war on coal” that was bad for such communities.

“We have 250 years of coal; why in the heck wouldn’t we use it?” Romney said, speaking in front of miners who roared in approval. “We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, to create more jobs.”

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