In 2008, Barack Obama made the above comment.
In 2012, he is proving it to be true, attempting to refocus this year’s presidential election on the weighty topic of… Big Bird.
But while Obama attempts to eke out a win by spotlighting a muppet, Mitt Romney is focusing on more substantive issues including American energy independence and affordability.
This may strike Democrats as an odd approach, but with swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin heavily reliant on coal, either for jobs or for cheap energy, and with so many Americans out of work or struggling to make ends meet in a tough economy, it makes sense for Romney to take the position he did in last week’s debate:
I like coal. I’m going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent, so we can create those jobs.
The Obama presidency has had a crushing impact on a number of industries, but few have felt the weight of its onerous regulatory policies like coal.
This past summer, Patriot Coal became the first U.S. coal company to file for bankruptcy in quite a while. Others have laid off a significant portion of their workforces.
The NY Times notes a few policies that further indicate that a second Obama term would be bad for the coal industry:
Mr. Obama postponed a decision in 2011 on a stricter new standard for smog-causing ozone pollution that would have thrown hundreds of cities out of compliance with clean air rules, requiring costly new plans for limiting pollution from transportation and industry. But the president said he intended to allow the rule to go forward in 2013 or 2014.
The Obama administration has also signaled that it intends to regulate the disposal of coal ash from power plants and to continue efforts to limit mountaintop-removal coal mining…
Mr. Romney has also said that he will reverse the Obama administration’s proposed regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to climate change. In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, he described such rules as an ‘assault on coal and gas and oil’ that is driving up energy costs.
In addition to resulting in layoffs at coal companies, the Obama approach is likely to result in more pain for consumers, as higher energy prices cut deeper into our paychecks (for those of us receiving them).