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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Fiery Introduction for Romney in Ohio Coal Country


BEALLSVILLE, Ohio - A Senate candidate, introducing Mitt Romney at a rally here on Tuesday, railed against “radical organizations” like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, and he said he had a message for those, like President Obama, who stood in the way of the coal industry: “Over our dead bodies.”

It was a significant departure in tone for a speaker at a Romney campaign event, which generally feature measured critiques of his political opponents.

The Senate candidate, Josh Mandel, arrived late to the rally at a coal mine, and he took the stage with Mr. Romney, who had just started his speech to a crowd of miners.

Mr. Mandel, 34, started by praising Mr. Romney for understanding that “coal equals jobs.” Then he blasted “radical organizations throughout this country funded from places like Hollywood and New York City - people who've never stepped foot in Appalachian Ohio.”

But he reserved his harshest words for the president and his rival for the Senate, the incumbent, Sherrod Brown, a Democrat.

“These people who are out of touch with Ohio â€" Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown - have waged a war on coal. They think coal is a four-letter word,” Mr. Mandel said. “I'll tell you this afternoon, for any of these folks trying to stand between us and affordable, reliable, dependable energy, we have four words for them: over our dead bodies.”

As he left the stage, Mr. Romney thanked Mr. Mandel for his introduction.

Afterward, a spokesman for Mr. Mandel, Travis Considine, said that the “radical” groups Mr. Mandel was referring to were Earth Justice, the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

Pressed on the remark about dead bodies, Mr. Considine said Mr. Mandel had said the same thing in the past as he had fought to protect the coal industry, which is a major employer in east ern Ohio.

“It does not suggest violence,” he said. “It suggests that no one will fight harder for Josh Mandel - for Ohio coal miners than Josh Mandel. It's an expression.”