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Presidential Candidates Talk Energy Policy in Campaigning Blitz in Swing States

August 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
The four candidates on the Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden presidential tickets split up to visit key states for the November election. While stumping for votes, they talked alternative energy sources, the economy and jobs. Judy Woodruff reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The political conventions won’t begin for almost two weeks, but President Obama, Mitt Romney and their running mates are already campaigning in earnest.

Today, they spread out across the country, focusing on everything from energy to taxes.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-Wis.): You know, it’s great to be here in Colorado.

GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R),: Now, this is my — my second chance to be on a bus tour across Ohio this summer.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: We need you to stand with us.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It has been great to be back in Iowa.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The four men on the two presidential tickets blitzed four states that will be critical this November. President Obama was on the second day of a three-day bus tour across Iowa, talking up energy policy.

In Oskaloosa, the president argued his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, has dismissed the whole idea of alternative energy.

BARACK OBAMA: He said that new sources of energy like wind are imaginary. His running mate calls them a fad.

During a speech a few months ago, Gov. Romney even explained his energy policy this way — I’m quoting here — “You cant drive a car with a windmill on it.”

(LAUGHTER)

BARACK OBAMA: That’s what he said about wind power. “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”

JUDY WOODRUFF: Iowa has become a center of wind energy production, and the president said Romney has a lot to learn about it.

BARACK OBAMA: The wind industry now supports 7,000 jobs here in Iowa, 75,000 jobs across the country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BARACK OBAMA: These jobs aren’t a fad — aren’t a fad. These are good jobs and they’re sources of pride that we need to fight for. And if he — if Gov. Romney understood what you have been doing, he’d know that we used to have to import most of the parts that were used for wind turbines. They’re now being made here in America by American workers in American factories.

That’s not imaginary. That’s real. That’s part of what were fighting for in this election. So, I want to stop giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies that are going to oil companies that are making huge profits and have been subsidized for 100 years, and let’s keep on investing in the new homegrown energy that is creating jobs right here in Iowa. That’s a difference in this election.

JUDY WOODRUFF: At the same time, Romney was in Ohio’s coal country, arguing it’s the president who’s forsaken a ready-made energy source. He was flanked by a group of coal miners in Beallsville.

MITT ROMNEY: We have 250 years of coal. Why in the heck wouldn’t we use it? And so I want to take advantage of those energy resources. Of course I like all of those sources of energy. You have probably heard the president say he’s for all of the above.

And I wondered what he meant, because I see how he’s been waging war on coal. And I wondered how could he possibly say that? Then it came to me. He’s for all the sources of energy that come from above the ground, none of those that come from below the ground, like oil and coal and gas.

I’m for all of the above, whether it comes above the ground or below the ground. We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, to create more jobs. And, by the way, when we use our plentiful energy resources, our inexpensive carbon-based energy resources, you’re going to see manufacturing come back to America.

It’s not just in this community that jobs will be grown and created. It will be in other parts of our nation as well. We’re going to bring jobs back in part by that first step I’m going to take, which is to take advantage of our energy resources.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Then-candidate Obama won Ohio in 2008, but today Romney said the president has not lived up to promises he made to the Buckeye State.

MITT ROMNEY: He said if he’s said elected president and his policies get put in place, the cost of energy would skyrocket. That’s one he has kept.

He also said that you could go out and build a new coal plant if you want, but if you do, you will go bankrupt. That’s another promise he’s intent on keeping. His vice president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. Can you imagine that?

(BOOING)

MITT ROMNEY: This — yes.

This tells you precisely what he actually feels and what he has done. And his policies over the last 3.5 years have put in place the very vision he had when he was running for office. But now he wants to get reelected.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Romney’s vice presidential pick, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, hit the same theme in Lakewood, Colo.

REP. PAUL RYAN: We are offering solutions. And among those solutions we are offering are, number one, make sure that we use our own energy because we have our own energy in this country, all of it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. PAUL RYAN: You have it all here in Colorado. We have our own oil and gas. We have nuclear. We have all of the above, wind, solar, coal. Let’s use it. Let’s make our energy independence.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. PAUL RYAN: Let’s create jobs. Let’s stop sending jobs overseas by buying oil overseas.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. PAUL RYAN: Now you have the technology here, the wherewithal here, the oil and gas here. We want to reward that. We should be tapping our resources, which we know we can in an environmentally sensitive way. We want to get the government out of the way.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

REP. PAUL RYAN: President Obama has done all that he can to make it harder for us to use our own energy.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Vice President Joe Biden steered clear of energy as he stumped in Danville, Virginia. He called the Republican ticket men of fundamentally flawed judgment.

JOSEPH BIDEN: Romney wants to let the — he said, in the first hundred days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street.

(BOOING)

JOSEPH BIDEN: They’re going to put you all back in chains.

(LAUGHTER)

JUDY WOODRUFF: Biden then zeroed in on Republican calls for extending and adding new tax cuts.

JOSEPH BIDEN: Now, you got to hear it. Now, I want you to listen, because you will think I’m making this up if you didn’t listen hard — $800 billion over the next 10 years will go to people with a minimum income of a million dollars.

Now, wait, no, hang on. And of that $800 million — billion — $400 billion will go to 120,000 households, $400 billion going to 120,000 households, while we cut Medicaid, while we cut education, while we cut infrastructure.

Ladies and gentlemen — and on top of that, Romney comes along, the governor comes along, as does the congressman, and says we need an additional tax cut for the job creators. I’m serious. We need an additional $1.6 trillion for the job creators, on top of all this.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Romney camp protested the Biden remark about putting people back in chains, calling it a new low. The Obama campaign replied, saying it was in response to a frequent GOP call to unshackle the private sector from consumer regulations.