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September 3, 2012

Labored Shots from the Campaign: Coal Country, Charles Dickens Stand With Mitt

Romney said Murray is a “great boss, he runs a great operation here.” (via Columbus Dispatch)

Coal country stands with Mitt?

Perhaps you saw this story the NYT ran a story last month juxtaposing two diametric images taken the same day, reflecting Obama and Romney’s different approaches to energy. The Obama photo was taken in Iowa and the Romney image (a different view of the AP shot above) was taken in Beallsville, Ohio at the Century Mine owned by Murray Energy Corp.

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It’s a brilliant visual juxtaposition, even if the binary plays more to Romney’s characterization of Obama’s energy policy as tilting at windmills when the Administration has far from turned its back on fossil fuels. What the NYT story doesn’t mention at all, however, is that Murray has been repeatedly fined by the EPA for pollution violations and that Mr. Murray has donated almost $1 million to the GOP since 2010.

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More than that, though, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, the turnout was so high because the mine made attendance mandatory. At the same time, because the mine was closed for the event, management refused to pay workers for the day. If coal country does stand with Mitt — and there certainly photos from the rally and the 1500 workers that attended that look enthusiastic — you have to ask, under what terms?

There’s another element that’s curious, though, if you really look at the photo op, a point that struck me after Regina Schrambling, who alerted me to the story, described the miners as “Dickensian. That’s a particularly interesting take when you consider that these men would show up at the photo-op smeared in soot on a day off.

(photo 1: Mary Altaffer/AP caption: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at the American Energy Corporation, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Beallsville, Ohio.photo 2:
Damon Winter/The New York Times caption: President Obama visited a farm in Haverhill, Iowa, on Tuesday that is part of a cooperative of landowners who use wind power. photo 3: Eric Thayer for The New York Times caption: Mitt Romney visited a coal mine Tuesday in Beallsville, Ohio. Representative Paul D. Ryan campaigned in Iowa on Monday.. photo 4: Toledo Blade caption: Hundreds of coal miners and their families stand in line to hear GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak at his VICTORY rally at the Century Mine near Beallsville, Ohio, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.)

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