The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Midday Update: Romney Courts Coal Voters

by Newsteam Staff
October 24, 2012

Photo of the Day: A young girl listens as President Obama speaks during a campaign rally October 23, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: A young girl listens as President Obama speaks during a campaign rally October 23, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)


GOP nominee Mitt Romney has been using support of the coal industry to try and woo voters in coal-producing swing states (USAToday) that have been vocal opponents of the Obama administration’s clean energy policies.

“The Romney campaign has used the argument for coal as a way to court a relatively small percentage of voters, many of who are Reagan Democrats, who occupy key coal-producing counties in several battleground states,” reports USA Today.

Coal-mining employment has increased under President Obama, but the industry is deeply opposed to what it considers “overly restrictive clean air and water and greenhouse-gas regulations” (Bloomberg).

Howard Fineman writes in the Huffington Post that although Obama has pledged support for “clean coal” and shale gas drilling and reminded voters that, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney said that coal-fired power plants “kill people,” it will be hard for the president to “compete with the GOP on who is more devoted to digging and drilling.”

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on energy policy.

President Obama released a twenty-page booklet (Politico) on Tuesday that outlines his plans for a second term on issues ranging from energy to education.

Titled The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan For Jobs & Middle-Class Security, the booklet “outlines the president’s plans to improve education, boost manufacturing jobs, enhance U.S.-made energy, reduce the federal deficit and raise taxes on the wealthy,” the Associated Press reports. The release of the booklet is meant to counter criticism that Obama hasn’t been specific enough about his vision for the future (WSJ).

“What sets the document apart from the rest of the Obama campaign’s 2012 output is that there is just a single direct reference to Mitt Romney and only a few nameless mentions of his policies,” reports the Guardian.

USA Today reports that advisers to Obama’s campaign told the Wall Street Journal that the plan won’t involve new policies. Meanwhile, Republicans said it amounts to little more than a “rehash of old plans.”

Read more about the candidates’ positions on the economy in this CFR Issue Tracker.

In a discussion of the final presidential debate aired on NY1, former New York City mayor Ed Koch suggested that President Obama is supportive of the state of Israel, just not of its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“You know I’m very supportive of Israel and I’m also very supportive of President Obama. The fact that Bibi Netanyahu and Obama don’t like one other has nothing to do with it,” he said.

GOP nominee Mitt Romney has often criticized Obama as not being supportive enough of Israel (JTA), and has reminded voters that Obama did not meet with Netanyahu during the United Nations General Assembly last month.

But the Washington Post’s Max Fisher writes that “President Obama and Mitt Romney competed at Monday night’s foreign policy debate to champion Israel, repeatedly citing the country and their support for its security.” Israel was mentioned a total of thirty-one times, but Fisher notes that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process got barely a mention.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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