On Wednesday, the Mitt Romney campaign released an ad spotlighting President Obama’s putative “War On Coal,” despite a controversy in Ohio about the coal miners’ rally featured in the spot. In the ad, Romney appears on a stage before rows of hard-hatted miners, their faces smudged with coal dust, as he says, “We have 250 years of coal. Why wouldn’t we use it?”
The rally was held last month in Beallsville, Ohio, thick with miners from the Century coal mine, owned by Murray Energy, a major donor to Republican causes. Within days of the rally, Murray employees contacted a nearby morning talk radio host, David Blomquist, to say they were forced to attend the Aug. 14 event at the mine.
Murray closed the mine the day of the rally, saying it was necessary for security and safety, then docked miners their pay for those hours. Asked by WWVA radio’s Blomquist about the allegations, Murray Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore said, somewhat confusingly, “Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event.”