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Coal, cars and China in presidential debate
Jobs, trade and energy were key during the town hall at Hofstra University
This story is part of a special series.

Kabir Bhatia
Romney and Obama sparred on several issues key to Ohio voters: coal, the auto bailout and trade with Chinese
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In The Region:
Several big issues for Ohio voters got their due during the second presidential debate. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia spoke with David Cohen of the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics about the swing state’s status in the town hall meeting last night.
Coal, cars and China in presidential debate

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Ohio’s strong ties to the auto industry got attention right at the top of the debate, as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized the President’s handling of the 2009 bailout of GM and Chrysler.

Auto suppliers in Ohio have been hard hit by Chinese competitors as well, and Romney told the crowd that Obama has been weak on trade violations. But the president said the Yuan has actually gone up 11 percent during his term. 

Political Scientist Dave Cohen of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute says the impact of those arguments may be negligible.

Connecting with working folks has taken an interesting turn in southeast Ohio, even though it’s the least populated quadrant of the state. 

“They’ve spent a lot of time [and] resources trying to convince the folks that there’s a war on coal and that President Obama is seeking to close all the coal mines down. I think President Obama was on record tonight as saying there is no war on coal, and coal is part of his all-of-the-above energy strategy. I believe he did point out that the number of coal jobs has actually increased in the last few years, and not in fact decreased.”

Although the second presidential debate featured a town hall setting, the third and final presidential debate will mirror the first as the two candidates discuss foreign policy next Monday night in Florida.
Listener Comments:

Everyone's talking about Mitt Romney's "binder of women", but that comment seems to have overshadowed what I think is a more important tell on his true opinion of women in the workplace. In his anecdote about women in his cabinet, he made much about being willing to be more flexible on the work schedule so that women's needs would be met. The perception that having women in the workplace throws up all kinds of restrictions on availability might well be one reason WHY women are paid less than men. I don't think it would be fair that someone with less availability would get paid the same as someone with more availability, if that's what's needed for that job; that's just a simple case of a person getting paid in relation to their value to the organization. But assuming that women would automatically be the group that concessions need to be made for is extremely sexist and condescending.

Posted by: Christina (Lake Milton, OH) on October 17, 2012 11:10AM
“I think President Obama was on record tonight as saying there is no war on coal, and coal is part of his all-of-the-above energy strategy. I believe he did point out that the number of coal jobs has actually increased in the last few years, and not in fact decreased.” - Yes there – is- a war on coal ----
- Prnewsire-com Company advocates for more time and flexibility to reduce the negative impact of the proposed EPA rules on customers, jobs and the economy COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --"American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today announced the company's plan for complying with a series of regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would impact coal-fueled power plants. Based on the regulations as proposed, AEP's compliance plan would retire nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW; refuel 1,070 MW of coal generation as 932 MW of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The cost of AEP's compliance plan could range from $6 billion to $8 billion in capital investment through the end of the decade. High demand for labor and materials due to a constrained compliance time frame could drive actual costs higher than these estimates. The plan, including retirements, could change significantly depending on the final form of the EPA regulations and regulatory approvals from state commissions...”
- SOURCE American Electric Power EPA regulations for coal-fired power plants could force shut downs May 25, 2011 - “New regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency mean a lot of coal-fired power plants will shut down soon, said James Wood, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy. He said the approval of new rules for air pollution, water pollution and waste disposal could result in the retirement of between 35 and 70 gigawatts of coal-fired power generation nationwide, with EPA predicting much less and some analysts predicting much more...”
-mountainwestmilitia-com America transformed (Cloward-Piven Strategy)
jobs------If you’re doing The New York Times crossword puzzle and need a four-letter word for “jobs,” you could do worse than trying “C-O-A-L.”
Year after year, the abundance of U.S. coal and the nation’s steady reliance on it has generously produced high-wage jobs in dozens of states.  Despite the recession last year, coal mining  provided 135,000 direct jobs at 2,064 mining operations in 25 states and paid miners as much as double the statewide average in the states where we operate.  That doesn’t count $16 billion in indirect payroll and the $8 billion coal paid in local, state and federal payroll and social security taxes.
Now that jobs are in great demand, you’d expect coal would be getting some “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” from Washington officials scrambling to assure voters that more jobs are coming.  With the November elections only one hot summer away, few congressional seats feel safe in the Great Recession.  The job market is little improved in the full year since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said: “It is all about a four-letter word: jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.  We are all about jobs.”   
... More Americans today are without work for six months or longer than at any time in the past 40 years.  And jobless data don’t capture those worried about losing their job or concerned about friends and families without one.  For these folks, the recovery looks less like a typical U-shaped upturn than an L.
Small wonder then that official Washington is pledging to make jobs government’s top priority. 
But as members of Congress heard last month, not all federal agencies share this “jobs first” priority.  At EPA, for example, officials responsible for implementing policies with far-reaching impacts on the U.S. job market recently told Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) that EPA has no obligation to consider them.
The House Coal Caucus, a bipartisan group of coal state members concerned about coal communities, learned that 81 small businesses and more than 17,000 coal-supported jobs are at risk from the agency’s decision to ignore the economic ramifications from holding up 190 coal mining permits in Appalachia.    
You might have heard EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently expressing deep sadness over the massive jobs being lost to the on-going oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  She noted that small businesses, fisherman, shrimpers and restaurant owners are all hurting very badly.  And she’s right.  But gulf residents aren’t the only Americans hurting.  What about the thousands of families across Appalachia who rely on coal jobs, jobs EPA seems all too eager to wipe-out?  Don’t these families, miners, machine operators, mechanics, drivers and engineers deserve the same sympathy from EPA?
Or consider EPA’s decision to regulate CO2 emissions from coal-based power plants and thousands of other sources.  Independent analyses have estimated long-term job losses from cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  Yet EPA cobbled together a plan to target major sectors of the economy without undertaking any assessment of the cumulative impact on jobs and the economy.
Then there’s the agency’s upcoming mercury and air toxics rule.  The United Mine Workers of America told Coal Caucus members it could result in the loss of 54,000 direct jobs in the coal and rail industries and up to 200,000 indirect jobs.  Bill Banig, the union’s government relations director, said the air toxics rules would impact the coal industry more than the climate change bill now under discussion in the Senate.
Representatives from coal mines to coal-burning utilities left the Caucus with no doubt that coal spells jobs.  “Coal is the real deal because it provides real jobs,” said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn.  “With more than $8 billion in direct payroll, coal mining jobs paid as much as double the statewide average in the states where we operate,“ he said.
Coal is essential to other jobs.  “We can’t make steel without coal,” said Kevin Dempsey, American Iron

Posted by: why is Obama believed on October 17, 2012 10:10AM
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