Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rallied supporters in this bellwether state on Tuesday by chastising President Obama for policies that cripple America’s energy industry and the families and small businesses whose livelihoods depend on fuel producers.What a silly thing to say, coal more dangerous than terrorists?? What was Joe thinking?
“His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that?” Romney told a cheering crowd of about 2,600 people in the village of Beallsville, where 70 miners from American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine joined him onstage. “This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he’s done, and his policies over the last three-and-a-half years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office.”
Except he didn't actually say that. In fact, when you look at the context (which Trib conservative columnist Selena Zito failed to do here) you'll find something entirely different.
CBS did their homework and has a description of what Biden actually said:
Campaigning in rural coal country, Mitt Romney on Tuesday revived a controversial five-year-old comment from Vice President Joe Biden as evidence that the Obama administration is insufficiently committed to energy from coal.See? The question Biden was answering is about which causes more damage not which is more dangerous.
In a 2007 interview on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, Biden, then a 2008 presidential candidate, was asked which is more likely to contribute to Americans' deaths - air pollution from coal, high-fructose corn syrup or a terrorist attack. Biden responded: "Air that has too much coal in it, corn syrup next, then a terrorist attack. But that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack is real. It is not an existential threat to bringing down the country, but it does have the capacity, still, to kill thousands of people. But hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives are shortened because of coal plants, coal-fired plants and because of corn syrup." [emphasis added.]
Addressing a crowd in Beallsville, Romney attacked President Obama's energy policies and added, "His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that? This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he's done and his policies over the last three and a half years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office."
What's happening here is that Romney misquoted Biden and Zito (who should know better)- let him get away with it. CBS had the time to check, why didn't she? We've seen this a few times (here and here) and I am beginning to sense a pattern. Aren't you?
Setting aside the corn syrup part - and only because it's not a part of Romney's misquote - we should then be asking ourselves, "Is Biden telling the truth? Does coal pollution kill more people than terrorism?"
Um, yea. Take a look at this 2004 study from the Clean Air Task Force. From the summary:
Fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants cuts short the lives of nearly 24,000 people each year, including 2800 from lung cancer.So Romney misquoted and Zito failed to correct him.
This is how the Trib will be covering the Romney campaign. Get used to it.