PUEBLO, CO -- President Obama continued his two-day Colorado tour with a stop in a city that allowed him to flaunt what his campaign considers an advantage over Mitt Romney in this crucial swing state: his support for wind energy production tax credits.
Speaking to a crowd of 3,500 at the state fairgrounds’ agriculture pavilion here, Obama contrasted his support for the federal wind production tax credit with Romney’s opposition to it.
“At a moment when homegrown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” the president said to a crowd of 3,500 in the state fair’s agricultural pavilion here.
“Think about what that would mean for a community like Pueblo,” Obama continued. Pueblo in fact is a big wind energy hub, home to Danish wind energy company Vestas’ wind tower factory, the biggest such facility in the world.
A Romney spokesman told the Des Moines Register in July that Romney would “allow the wind credit to expire,” suggesting that action would lead to a more “level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”
Romney also received criticism from some Republican senators, congressmen, and a governor from regions that benefit from the tax credit, like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who said Wednesday that he felt like “it was just like a knife in my back” when he found out Romney did not support the wind energy tax credit. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, also a Republican, said Romney "needs to be educated as to how important this is." Wind accounts for thousands of jobs in the region, they said.
Notably, Obama is spending three days next week in Iowa.
Obama countered Romney’s position by saying the tax credit for oil production, not wind energy, should be the one to go.
“Colorado, it’s time to stop spending millions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that’s already making a lot of profit,” he said.
In addition to touting his support for wind energy, the Obama campaign also seemed to add extra touches to the event to appeal to Hispanic voters, which make up 49.8 percent of Pueblo’s population (21 percent of all of Coloradans), according to the 2010 census and are a key part of Obama’s equation for winning the state in November.
A mariachi band and traditional dancers that revved up the crowd before the program began, and among the speakers introducing Obama was former Secretary of Energy and Transportation Federico Pena, who led the crowd in a chant of, “Si se puede!” or yes, we can.
President Obama won Pueblo County, named after the historic city, 56 to 42 percent, over John McCain in 2008. But statewide polls show a tight race between the president and Romney.
The president heads to Colorado Springs later Thursday for his last of four events in the state before heading back to Washington.