From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy and NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The McCain campaign seizes on Biden's ropeline flub that the Democratic ticket does not support "clean" coal in new radio ads released in targeted battleground states -- Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
It uses Biden's YouTube moment saying that he's not supporting clean coal to rile up voters.
Obama's energy plan specifically mentions "clean coal" -- "Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology" -- as a way to "Create Millions of New Green Jobs."
It's an interesting play, since one of the major problems the Left has with Obama is that he's seen as a coal senator (largely, because Illinois politicians have to be to win downstate Illinois.)
The Washington Post (Jan. 10, 2007): "So why then, environmentalists ask, is Obama backing a law supporting the expanded use of coal, whose emissions are cooking the globe? It seems the answer is twofold: his interest in energy independence -- and his interest in downstate Illinois, where the senator's green tinge makes the coal industry queasy.
"The coal industry praises Obama's reintroduction, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 last week, which would provide incentives for research and plant construction. The industry says the technology, which converts coal into diesel engine fuel, would reduce America's dependence on foreign oil through a new, home-mined fuel that burns as cleanly as gasoline. Environmentalists say focusing on coal does nothing to arrest climate change. Instead, they say, lawmakers should back cleaner alternative fuels and stricter automobile and industrial emissions standards."
And Obama touts his support of the 2005 energy bill, "saying it will help Illinois and start America down the path to energy independence by doubling ethanol use, greatly increasing the availability of E85 ethanol pumps, and investing in combination plug-in hybrid and flexible-fuel vehicles, as well as clean-coal technology."
*** UPDATE *** In response, the Obama campaign provided this 2000 quote from McCain, who told a Senate committee witness for environmental group Sierra Club that "in a perfect world we would like to transition away from coal entirely."
"At a hearing on global warming and reductions in greenhouse gases, Ann Mesnikoff, Washington Representative for the Sierra Club Global Warming and Energy Program stated, "I think that one can get into the arguments about clean coal, but I think the issue is to transition away from coal use and to do it in a way that is good for the economy." McCain replied, "I would not disagree with you that in a perfect world we would like to transition away from coal entirely. But there is certainly, at least from my understanding, there is a dramatic difference in the effects of the so-called dirty coal in a broad variety of ways as opposed to the cleaner coal." [Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Hearing On Reductions In Greenhouse Gases, 9/21/2000]"
Here's the Colorado script:
ANNCR: Clean Coal is important to America. And to Colorado. For Coloradoans, coal means thousands of jobs. Economic growth. More affordable electricity. For America, coal means energy independence. And clean coal means cleaner air. But Obama-Biden and their liberal allies oppose clean coal.
Listen to Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN: "No coal plants here in America". "We're not supporting clean coal".
ANNCR: No coal plants in America? No jobs in Colorado? No energy independence for America?
It's no surprise. After all, Obama-Biden and their liberal allies opposed off-shore drilling. Congressional liberals blocked off-shore drilling putting special interests, before our interests.
Obama-Biden and their liberal allies. Too risky for our jobs, our economic future. Paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approved this message.