Freshly nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte for a second four-year term, Vice President Joe Biden returns to campaign in the key swing state of Ohio this weekend.
Mr. Biden's trip takes him to Athens County, where President Obama got the second-highest proportion of votes in any Ohio county in 2008, and to southern Ohio where coal mining companies and unions alike have been upset by environmental regulation and legislation they say will drive up the cost of coal.
The vice president will visit Zanesville, east of Columbus, and Athens, where Ohio University is located, on Saturday. On Sunday he will hold campaign events in Portsmouth on the Ohio River and Milford, in suburban Cincinnati.
"The purpose of this trip is to continue to talk about the stark contrast in economic visions for the security of the middle class, and to show who's committed to moving the policies forward and who's committed to the policies of the past that drove us into the ditch in the first place," said Obama campaign spokesman Jessica Kershaw.
In a trip to southern Ohio on Aug. 14, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney stood with miners in hard hats, their faces smudged with soot, outside a mine entrance as he accused President Obama of "waging war" on coal.
The Obama Administration supported the passage of a cap-and-trade bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 that failed to advance beyond the House, and which was opposed by the coal industry.
Mr. Biden said while in a rope line shaking hands in Maumee in 2008 that coal pollution was "causing people to die," and that "we're not supporting clean coal."
Obama spokesman Lis Smith said in August that President Obama has increased investments in the research and development of clean coal technology and that employment in the mining industry hit a 15-year high in 2011. She said Mr. Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, spoke out against coal jobs and said that a coal-fired plant "kills people".
The United Mine Workers union has not made an endorsement for president, in part over anger with new Environmental Protection Agency regulations to toughen emissions standards for coal-fueled utility plants.
Chris Maloney, spokesman for the Romney campaign in Ohio, said coal powers 80 percent of the energy produced in Ohio, which makes the price of coal important to industry and residents alike all over the state.
"We can have regulations and Governor Romney supports regulations in the coal industry but it shouldn't adversely impact our economy," Mr. Maloney said. He said Mr. Romney was critical of a particular coal-fired plant in Massachusetts that was out of compliance with regulations.
As to whether the Obama Administration's stance on coal will come up during Mr. Biden's tour, Ms. Kershaw said, "People that live in southern and eastern Ohio are a critical part of this election and we need to talk to voters wherever they are."
Mr. Biden has made numerous appearances in Ohio this election year, including in Martins Ferry in eastern Ohio in May.
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