It's one of the Romney campaign's 10th hour arguments against Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. The Obama administration is waging a "war on coal." Before the Republican House packed up, it cast a symbolic vote for the Stop the War on Coal Act, to choke off regulations on the industry. Romney is on the air with ads reminding voters that 1) there are a bunch of sad coal miners out there, 2) China is using plenty of coal, and 3) in 2008, Obama warned that he'd make it tougher to build a coal plant.
The 2008 clip is an example of the Republican idea that Obama was never truly vetted in 2008; McCain used the video, too, but voters never saw it. The focus on coal is microtargeting on areas that rejected Obama last time -- often by larger margins than it rejected John Kerry, who lost these states. At a morning hang-out with former Rep. Tom Davis, who held part of Northern Virginia for Republicans before his 2008 retirement, I asked how much oomph the coal ads could have.
"Northern Virginia is 28 percent of the statewide vote," said Davis. "Coal country is 9 percent. And the problem is that it's not a growing vote. The NoVa vote is a growing vote. The Hispanic vote is growing. The Asian vote is growing." Could Romney benefit from driving up the margins in this smaller electorate? Obviously. But -- "We should be buying ads in Asian newspapers. They're cheaper and they have an impact. A lot of this ad money is wasted."
TODAY IN SLATE
Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola
Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy
Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.