Go figure, it turns out that declaring “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” is not a winning line in West Virginia.
Here’s what Hillary Clinton said about the coal industry, back on March 13:
So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right, Tim?
And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.
Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.
Maybe Hillary Clinton didn’t think the comment would hurt her too badly, because she said in a town hall on CNN, roughly the eight millionth one of the cycle, and who’s paying attention to these, right? But the West Virginia Republican Party certainly thought her comment – and smile! – was worth spotlighting at the time.
Now it caught up with her:
Clinton was attending a panel discussion with residents and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in Williamson, W. Va. when she was asked a question by Bo Copley, who told her he was a laid off worker in the coal industry.
“I just want to know how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of, out of jobs, and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend, because those people out there don’t see you as a friend,” Copley said, sometimes breaking into tears, as the chants of the protesters were heard outside.
Clinton however said her comments in March were a “misstatement,” and that she has been talking about helping out coal country “for a very long time.”
“What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs,” Clinton said Monday. “That’s what I meant to say, and I think that that seems to be supported by the facts. I didn’t mean that we were going to do it, what I said was, that is going to happen unless we take action to try to and help and prevent it.”
Except… you can read the context above. Watch the video of her comments. It wasn’t a lament. She’s cheering on the disappearance of coal industry and coal mining jobs. She’s pushing for it: “Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels.”