Coal heats up as is­sue for Obama in elec­tion

Clean-air rules hit swing states

The Washington Times Daily - - Front Page - BY SU­SAN CRAB­TREE

As gaso­line prices con­tinue to rise and keep the heat on Pres­i­dent Obama’s en­ergy poli­cies, crit­ics also are ac­cus­ing the pres­i­dent of shift­ing sup­port away from the coal in­dus­try, a ma­jor source of fuel and jobs in sev­eral bat­tle­ground states, in­clud­ing Colorado, Michi­gan and Ohio.

Law­mak­ers on both sides of the par­ti­san aisle say Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions aimed at cut­ting green­house gas emis­sions are poised to hit jobs and con­sumers harder than the Key­stone XL decision at the same time the pres­i­dent seems to have aban­doned his stated sup­port for the coal in­dus­try and clean-coal tech­nol­ogy.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Re­pub­li­can, wrote a let­ter to Mr. Obama last week tak­ing is­sue with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s green­house gas rule-mak­ing, nam­ing an anti-mer­cury rule among sev­eral reg­u­la­tions that he said would cost a com­bined 180,000 jobs.

“You have rightly noted that oil pro­duc­tion alone can­not solve our en-

MOSCOW | Rus­sian riot po­lice ar­rested hun­dreds of pro­test­ers Mon­day, in­clud­ing prom­i­nent op­po­si­tion lead­ers, who claimed Prime Min­is­ter Vladimir Putin stole Sun­day’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Demon­stra­tors shouted, “Rus­sia with­out Putin,” as po­lice moved into a crowd that re­fused to leave Pushkin Square in down­town Moscow, a short dis­tance from the Krem­lin and the seat of power in Rus­sia.

Moscow au­thor­i­ties had ap­proved the demon­stra­tion and dis­patched about 12,000 po­lice of­fi­cers to keep or­der. When the of­fi­cial time for the

Obama’s decision to re­quire in­sti­tu­tions with a re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion to pro­vide in­sur­ance that cov­ers con­tra­cep­tives is an in­fringe­ment on First Amend­ment pro­tec­tions, but, af­ter stum­bling, Mr. Obama has fought back by say­ing he is de­fend­ing women’s re­pro­duc­tive health.

Sens­ing the way the is­sue has played out, the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have tried to move on.

Newt Gin­grich has tried to fo­cus in­stead on ris­ing gas prices, and Mitt Rom­ney, cam­paign­ing in Ohio on Mon­day, urged the field to shy away from so­cial is­sues al­to­gether.

“I look at this cam­paign right now and I see a lot of folks talk­ing about lots of things, but what we need to talk about to de­feat Barack Obama is get­ting good jobs and scal­ing back the size of gov­ern­ment, and that’s what I do,” Mr. Rom­ney said.

The num­bers on con­tra­cep­tives were just one of the signs of trou­ble for the can­di­dates, who have staked out sev­eral po­si­tions that could dam­age them at the polls.

That was the case on im­mi­gra­tion, where an­a­lysts say the GOP is shed­ding His­panic sup­port by tak­ing a strict stance on the is­sue — but Re­pub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers said they don’t care.

By a mar­gin of nearly 4-to-1, likely Re­pub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers said the GOP should stake out a tough stance, even if it will cost the party His­panic sup­port.

The can­di­dates are abid­ing by that view. Mr. Rom­ney, should he win the nom­i­na­tion, would be the strictest on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion of any ma­jor-party nom­i­nee in his­tory, as would his clos­est com­peti­tor, Rick San­to­rum.

Over­all, this year’s GOP’S pres­i­den­tial field is ar­guably the most con­ser­va­tive in his­tory — as ev­i­denced by the fact that Mr. Rom­ney was con­sid­ered the con­ser­va­tive al­ter­na­tive in 2008, but this year is de­rided as the lib­eral can­di­date of the bunch.

Still, in the Washington Times/jz An­a­lyt­ics poll, a plu­ral­ity of vot­ers — 42 per­cent — de­scribe them­selves as more con­ser­va­tive than the field. An­other 37 per­cent said they are about the same level as the can­di­dates, while 15 per­cent, chiefly self-iden­ti­fied in­de­pen­dents who vote in GOP pri­maries, said they are more lib­eral than the field.

The sur­vey of 500 peo­ple who said they al­ready have or are likely to vote in Re­pub­li­can pri­maries was taken Fri­day and Satur­day. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of 4.5 per­cent­age points.

On the con­tra­cep­tive is­sue, Repub­li­cans have been in re­treat since last week, when ra­dio talk show host Rush Lim­baugh ques­tioned the promis­cu­ity of a Ge­orge­town Univer­sity Law School stu­dent who said her con­tra­cep­tive cov­er­age costs her $1,000 a year, which she must pay out of pocket.

Mr. Lim­baugh apol­o­gized for his lan­guage over the week­end, even as sev­eral spon­sors said they would no longer back his show.

Mr. Obama pur­sued the po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage by mak­ing a phone call to the 30-year-old stu­dent, San­dra Fluke, late last week.

Lib­eral ad­vo­cacy groups have called on the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates to de­nounce Mr. Lim­baugh, and one of them — the la­bor union-backed Amer­i­cans United for Change — drew a con­nec­tion be­tween Bain Cap­i­tal, the com­pany Mr. Rom­ney used to run, and Clear Chan­nel’s Pre­miere Ra­dio Net­works Inc., which has Mr. Lim­baugh un­der con­tract.

Women’s rights groups said Mr. Lim­baugh’s com­ments sig­nal a broader and deeper hos­til­ity to­ward women in U.S. po­lit­i­cal dis­course.

“The at­tacks on Ms. Fluke’s char­ac­ter have re­vealed the deep-rooted hos­til­ity to­ward women that lies at the heart of the un­prece­dented wave of as­saults on re­pro­duc­tive rights across the United States,” said Nancy Northup, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Cen­ter for Re­pro­duc­tive Rights.


ROCK THE VOTE: Rus­sian po­lice sub­due demon­stra­tors who re­fused to dis­perse in Moscow on Mon­day. Pro­test­ers con­tested the out­come of the Rus­sian pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, point­ing to re­ports of wide­spread vi­o­la­tions in bal­lot­ing.

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