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It’s A Mad, Mad World: Obama Ad Touts Coal Record, Slams Romney For Having Admitted Coal Plants ‘Kill People’

By Joe Romm on August 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

"It’s A Mad, Mad World: Obama Ad Touts Coal Record, Slams Romney For Having Admitted Coal Plants ‘Kill People’"

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So team Obama has decided the way to win votes in Ohio is with a very targeted radio ad touting his pro-coal record.

They actually attack Romney for his 2003 remarks about a Massachusetts coal plant that was responsible for dozens of premature deaths and 14,400 asthma attacks each year (according the Harvard School of Public Health):

I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant kills people….

year ago Climate Progress used the exact same clip that Obama does in his ad — except we were slamming Romney for having Etch-a-Sketched away his previous pro-environmental record, whereas team Obama is slamming Romney for supposedly not being as pro-coal as the President is!

I hope you have multiple head vises on for this ad:

I asked Bill McKibben for a comment. He wrote:

Romney says so many untrue things that it’s deeply ironic and deeply troubling when he gets attacked for one of the few straightforward and accurate charges he ever made.

In “The Toll from Coal,” The American Lung Association found that coal-powered electricity alone caused “over 13,000 premature deaths in 2010, as well as almost 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 20,000 heart attacks per year.”

What next for team Obama — bragging about boosting coal exports to China, the only country with higher emissions of carbon pollution than we have?

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32 Responses to It’s A Mad, Mad World: Obama Ad Touts Coal Record, Slams Romney For Having Admitted Coal Plants ‘Kill People’

  1. Joan Savage says:

    Multiple head vises, let us count the ways..

    “Clean coal” carbon capture hasn’t happened.

    So, deaths from coal use still occur.

    ..In Ohio. And elsewhere.

    Natural gas doesn’t have even a proposed version of carbon capture.

    Uh, and climate change..

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    This should squelch any rumors that Obama is motivated to do anything serious about our little global warming problem.

    Salazar and Vilsack were our first clues. The can is being kicked down to 2017, since our president has mostly this to say to the oil and coal companies: “Yes, sir!”.

  3. Solar Jim says:

    MAD can represent Mutual Assured Destruction. Used twice (in the headline) it represents the socio-pathological nature of our “two party” (one ideology) oligarchy. . . an “armed madhouse” with big business based on fuels-of-war “energy economics” and unlimited socialized contamination.

  4. denim says:

    One can govern by who wins a debate on an issue among ones “advisors.” Or one can use their intellect to determine the facts of the issue and decide on the basis of truth. FDR did the latter. So far, none since.

  5. Time to go protest more coal plants… Oh, and about that pipeline…

  6. M Tucker says:

    Yep. I knew that he would. He has ALWAYS been Mr Cleancoal Alloftheabove, he was in 2008 and he still is. The coal miners believe Obama wants to kill their jobs even though the administration has been opening new leases like nobodies business. So, in order to win this vital swing state, President Obama will brag about his coal record. He will also not attack ALL coal plants, just those that might be egregious polluters, especially if he can get a jab in at Romney. The silly part is attacking Romney as anti-coal. That will be seen by everyone, even the coal miners, as ridiculous. But even President Obama is willing to take a stand that can be shown to be head-exploding ridiculous during the campaign. Someone should tell him to attack Romney on wind in Ohio.

  7. Dan Ives says:

    Joe, I know you and I butt heads a lot on here, but I mean this as an honest and sincere question.
    You’ve written previously that you think Obama personally understands the threat of climate change and the need to take action against it. Do you still feel that way?

    • Carol says:

      Dan,
      I’ve asked Joe pointed questions about Obama as well.
      He will not respond. Not sure why—-are there restraints on CP or is this his choice?
      Things are so dire the truth must be spoken and I’m afraid that is still not happening here on CP.
      I guess it’s going to be watching the election play out for the lesser of two evils again as those that have a strong voice (as does Joe and others . . Bill McKibben, James Hansen etc.) are not using it re: the 2012 Presidential election. Very, very depressing. When I hear that it’s hopeless to vote a third party that’s even more depressing.
      I, for one, will be in Madison September 15 at Fighting Bobfest to support Jill Stein in spite of all the naysayers!

      • Dick Smith says:

        Bill McKibben will be here in Mad-town at Bobfest too. Why don’t you ask him then?

        This is disgusting, but abandoning 2 degrees is criminal–neglect of (the next generation’s) children.

        Who is this man that told us in 2008 he would help to stop the rising seas?

        • Carol says:

          By jove I will do just that Dick! Thanks for the suggestion.
          Wouldn’t it be great if Hansen and JR could be there too?

      • Dan Ives says:

        Carol,
        Joe has repeatedly said that CP has full editorial independence, so I don’t think there are any restraints on what Joe can say.
        I think CP does a good job of spreading the truth as it relates to the latest climate science.
        But on politics and policy solutions, CP is vastly disappointing, in my opinion. I think they still place faith in the Democratic party to solve the issue, which befuddles me given the outcome of the Obama Presidency so far. Joe still refers to Obama as a progressive from time to time, which makes me want to rip my eyes out when I read it because Obama is painfully, obviously, a conservative.
        Joe will defend his position by claiming that the current system is what we have to work with, and mediocre solutions are all that’s politically possible, and he’s not interested in what’s not possible. To me, that’s a cop out. It is worth discussing real solutions that are not currently politically possible because it can shift the debate more towards the progressive side, which in time can change what’s politically possible. I think Joe fails to see that. Look at the healthcare debate. Progressives were silent on pushing single payer because it “wasn’t politically possible.” And we ended up with a right-wing, ineffective “solution.” We can’t let the same happen with climate change action.
        I agree that things can get depressing. And if Bill McKibben ends up supporting Obama, my heart will sink and I will call him out aggressively.
        My biggest complaint with Bill and Joe is that they command real audiences, and they could build a serious movement behind Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson (anyone serious about climate change) if they could cut loose the illusion that electing more Democrats will solve the problem. That’s what makes me get angry in the comments here so frequently.
        So until they come around, I’ll be working as hard as I can to get votes behind Jill Stein. The people who say voting third party is hopeless are completely useless and blind. If you ask me, third parties are the last bastion of hope that we have.
        Cheers.

        • I agree that this ad is appalling, and the the Administration has been very disappointing on climate. But there’s another way to look at this: If Romney wins it will be a disaster for climate–he’s a captive of the deniers, and there’s no two ways about it. So supporting Obama is the only choice for the climate, in my view. But in parallel, we need to create a mass movement to force Obama to do the right thing, which is what McKibben is trying to do. Romney will be impervious to pressure from such a movement, but Obama isn’t, and that’s where the change will come. The electoral system is set up for winner take all, which means that 3rd parties almost never amount to much. But a broad based public movement is something else entirely, and I’m convinced that the President will be susceptible to pressure from such a movement, particularly as extreme weather events continue to take their toll.

        • Carol says:

          Dan,
          You are spot on and articulated so eloquently many things that I have thought/felt about these issues.
          I recently posted something very similar to what you said about Bill and Joe commanding real audiences. They are held in such high regard and reach huge numbers of people. Just imagine . . .
          I still believe a powerful movement could be started at this juncture. How I wish they would use their voices to do so.
          Like you, I too will be very depressed if McKibben supports Obama and continues with the idea that we can “hold his feet to the fire re: climate change” (remember that one?). Obviously that did NOT work and those that said it in 2008 had no idea just how literal those fires would be!
          Nice to hear you will “aggressively call him out” should he support Obama. Me too.

          You words and insights have inspired and energized me.
          Thank you and cheers back at you!

          Carol

  8. ltr says:

    There we have Obama, all hypocrisy all the time. Returning now to calling Romney names….

  9. Theodore says:

    Since my presidential vote will be wasted anyway, I might as well waste it on Jill Stein.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    There is the possibility that this is just a campaign strategy…

    • Mark Shapiro says:

      “Just” a campaign strategy? Yes.

      I remember one thing very clearly from the 2000 election — even before the Florida debacle, Gore lost West Virginia, a blue state that is owned and operated by King Coal.

      Think about that for a while.

      Gore lost WV — and thus the election — because Bush convinced them that Gore was anti-coal, which he was. What a difference a lump of coal makes.

  11. Mark Shapiro says:

    1) The truth hurts.

    2) The truth shall set you free. . . . but not right away.

    3) Everything in that ad is true. AND Obama is better for clean energy than Romney. And yes, he does know the risks. He also knows that to do anything he has to get reelected.

    4) See # 1.

  12. ltr says:

    Bill McKibben always but always excuses President Obama, even to the extent of shunning allies who criticize the President. So, I no longer pay any attention to McKibben and surely will not support his group again.

  13. ltr says:

    As for excusing President Obama, good grief, the President could care less about climate change and only cares about being President.

  14. Wendy says:

    Vote green party!

  15. Gillian King says:

    prokayotes… “just a campaign strategy…”

    So it’s OK for campaign strategies to have no connection whatsoever with policy positions?

    I guess that’s where we’re at with respect to the credibility of politicians.

    • prokaryotes says:

      No it’s not ok, but people are in denial. So i wouldn’t tell them into the face that we need to shut down coal. But clean-coal doesn’t exist and this ad really is just another lie or bad information.

      Also why attack Romney, where he is right? That makes no sense at all.

      This proves that politic and science (especially in the face of climate change) do not go well together and therefore shouldn’t be mixed.

      They need a honest approach and they need to offer an exist strategy for the coal workers.

    • prokaryotes says:

      No it’s not ok, but people are in denial. So i wouldn’t tell them into the face that we need to shut down coal. But clean-coal doesn’t exist and this ad really is just another lie or bad information.

      Also why attack Romney, where he is right? That makes no sense at all.

      This proves that politic and science (especially in the face of climate change) do not go well together and therefore shouldn’t be mixed.

      They need a honest approach and they need to offer an exist strategy for the coal workers.

  16. Credo mobile has a online petition to Obama asking him to take down this terrible ad: http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/ofa_coal_ad/?r_by=-2118723-z1N4Lpx&rc=paste1

  17. sault says:

    Look, this is how you win elections. If you think Obama’s 2nd term would be just as bad for the climate as Romney’s 1st term, you are totally detached from reality. Team Obama knows that the coal industry is spinning around the toilet bowl and is about to be flushed down. Coal usage is plummeting in the U.S. and some coal companies are going bankrupt. Sure, we need to keep up the good fight on blocking the export terminals so we can choke these planet-killing companies into irrelevance. So why wouldn’t Obama pick up some votes while not really affecting his agenda in a material way?

    The Democrats’ unwillingness to play hardball with the Republicans is why the Supreme Court is stacked with corporate “conservatives” and why our regulators were asleep on their jobs during the financial crisis or any other crisis of the past decade. You have to WIN elections to EVER have a chance of making policy.

    • ltr says:

      Look, this is how you win elections….

      [The way in which Obama Democrats betray voters. Right.]

  18. Don says:

    IMO, part of the reason there has been no meaningful policy debate on climate change is an absence of committed leadership in the White House. Concrete actions not words matter. Right now, the prevailing policy is, as it has long been, business as usual (non action). In that context the U.S. retreat from the 2°C goal is no surprise whatsoever.