Commentary Magazine


Topic: West Virginia Primary

Obama Evolves on Coal Too

After making every possible effort to undercut the coal industry, President Obama seemed oddly surprised that he ran such a close primary against a federal inmate in West Virginia. But this is a week for evolving, and the Obama campaign has quietly decided to add “clean coal” to its list of energy priorities, Chris Moody reports:

President Obama’s campaign website added “clean coal” to a list of energy priorities late this week, days after Republican lawmakers noted the omission and a federal inmate received about 40 percent of the vote against Obama in the Democratic primary in coal-heavy West Virginia.

Previously, the campaign’s website highlighted “fuel efficiency” on a list of seven energy priorities, but it has been replaced by “clean coal” and the site now touts Obama’s “10-year goal to develop and deploy cost-effective clean coal technology.”

The Obama campaign denies it’s a flip-flop, and claims he’s always supported coal production. And that may be true rhetorically, just like he’s always been a supporter of Israel and human rights and domestic oil production and reducing the deficit. Of course his policies and actions have often suggested otherwise.

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After making every possible effort to undercut the coal industry, President Obama seemed oddly surprised that he ran such a close primary against a federal inmate in West Virginia. But this is a week for evolving, and the Obama campaign has quietly decided to add “clean coal” to its list of energy priorities, Chris Moody reports:

President Obama’s campaign website added “clean coal” to a list of energy priorities late this week, days after Republican lawmakers noted the omission and a federal inmate received about 40 percent of the vote against Obama in the Democratic primary in coal-heavy West Virginia.

Previously, the campaign’s website highlighted “fuel efficiency” on a list of seven energy priorities, but it has been replaced by “clean coal” and the site now touts Obama’s “10-year goal to develop and deploy cost-effective clean coal technology.”

The Obama campaign denies it’s a flip-flop, and claims he’s always supported coal production. And that may be true rhetorically, just like he’s always been a supporter of Israel and human rights and domestic oil production and reducing the deficit. Of course his policies and actions have often suggested otherwise.

But the president has already evolved on one issue that his base appreciates this week, so he may as well toss a goodwill gesture at the bitterly clinging West Virginia types. Not that he’s actually going to do anything, like reconsider the new EPA regulations that have been crushing the coal industry. But at least the next time unemployed West Virginians demand to know what Obama’s done for coal lately, he can direct them to the new bullet-point on his energy priorities website.

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