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Ryan in coal country hits Obama on energy

Keith Srakocic / AP

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. center, accompanied by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, right, gestures Saturday while speaking at a campaign rally at the Valley View Campgrounds in Belmont, Ohio, where he talked about economic conditions and the coal industry.

BELMONT, Ohio -- Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took aim at President Barack Obama's energy policy during a campaign swing through coal country Saturday.

"One thing Belmont County can do," Ryan said here at Valley View Campgrounds, "if you head to early voting at your Belmont board of elections the one thing you can do is elect a man named Mitt Romney, who will end this war on coal and allow us to keep these good-paying jobs."

Standing in front of a barn with a huge "Victory in Ohio" sign behind him, Ryan continued attacking Obama just two days before the final presidential debate: "Gas prices have doubled since President Obama was elected; we are losing thousands of coal jobs; we have a 100 coal plants that are scheduled to close; and thousands more jobs are on the chopping block. When you take a look at all his assault on oil and gas, he’s closing down oil and gas on our federal lands; he’s making it harder for us to get it overseas."

This Southeastern Ohio rally marks Ryan's 24th public event in the Buckeye State -- a key state needed to go Republican on Nov. 6th for a Romney victory.

An Ohio Fox News poll released Friday showed the race tightening in the battleground state, with Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 43 percent.

Speaking earlier Saturday in Moon Township, Penn., a Pittsburgh suburb, Ryan told the crowd after waving the Terrible Towel associated with NFL’s Steelers: "We also need to make sure we open up markets so we can make more things in America and sell them overseas. Make sure people trade fairly with us, open our markets so we can make more things in steel country and sell them all around the world. That creates good jobs."

Saturday's Pennsylvania rally marked only the third public appearance in the state by the seven- term Wisconsin congressman. He was last there nearly two months ago on Aug. 21, when he also geared his speeches to focus more on energy while in Appalachia.

Speaking inside an airport hangar Saturday in the Keystone State, Ryan told voters they should be very concerned if Obama gets re-elected because of his energy policies.

"Not only are these policies wrong, not only do these policies cost us jobs, not only do they mean that American energy dollars go to the Middle East, they are keeping us from having a boom, they are keeping us from having jobs, they are keeping us from making our pay checks stretch farther," he said.

Obama's campaign fired back on these charges.

"The President has an all-of-the-above energy plan for his second term that will cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade. Mitt Romney can try to hide his true positions and policies in the final weeks of the campaign, but the truth is that he has no plan to create jobs or strengthen the middle class," campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement.