In Southwest Virginia on Sunday, Joe Biden told the United Mine Workers:
"I am a hard-coal miner, anthracite coal, Scranton, Pa.," Biden said. "It's nice to be back in coal country. â€¦ It's a different accent [in Southwest Virginia] â€¦ but it's the same deal. We were taught that our faith and our family was the only really important thing, and our faith and our family informed everything we did."
But Biden was singing quite a different tune while talking to an environmentalist in Ohio last week. Biden contradicted the Obama campaign's pledge to develop more clean coal plants, telling the activist that he and Barack Obama are "not supporting 'clean coal.' ... No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they're going to build them over there [in China] make 'em clean because they're killing you."
During a speech in Ohio today, John McCain dinged the Democratic ticket on Biden's opposition to clean coal. The Obama-Biden campaign responded that McCain's remarks were "another ham-handed lying attack from the McCain campaign." Biden spokesman David Wade added: "This is yet another false attack from a dishonorable campaign."
The Obama-Biden campaign's hysterical (and false) reaction that McCain is "lying" shows that they're afraid that Biden's remarks could do some significant damage. This Department of Energy map shows that coal is found in a lot of swing states:
Obama's poll numbers have been hurt badly because of his opposition to offshore drilling: Over the summer, polls showed a 22-point swing in McCain's favor on the question of which candidate can reduce gas prices. Biden's remarks can only help drag the Democratic ticket down further in a broader energy debate. The Department of Energy reports:
Today, more than half of the electricity generated in the United States comes from coal. For the foreseeable future, coal will continue to be the dominant fuel used for electric power production. The low cost and abundance of coal is one of the primary reasons why consumers in the United States benefit from some of the lowest electricity rates of any free-market economy.
Does Joe Biden want the cost of electricity to soar like the price of gas? An ad asking that question is waiting to be made.