After a Mitt Romney TV ad featured coal miners required to attend a rally in Ohio, a new Obama for America TV ad accuses Romney of using them as "props."
Here's the script for the new ad:
NARRATOR: Seen the coal miners in these ads? Turns out they were told that attendance at Mitt Romney's rally was, quote, "mandatory." Their mine was closed, lost the pay they needed, all to be props in Romney's commercial.
AUDIO: WWVA-RADIO HOST DAVID BLOMQUIST: Employees feel they were forced to go. They had to take the day off without pay [and] they took a roll call, and they had a list of who was there and who wasn't, and felt they wouldn't have a job if they did not attend.
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Romney released an ad Sept. 19 attacking President Obama's coal policies. It prominently featured shots of miners attending a rally where Romney spoke:
The L.A. Times quickly reported that those miners had complained that they were forced to attend:
The rally was held last month in Beallsville, Ohio, thick with miners from the Century coal mine, owned by Murray Energy, a major donor to Republican causes. Within days of the rally, Murray employees contacted a nearby morning talk radio host, David Blomquist, to say they were forced to attend the Aug. 14 event at the mine.
Murray closed the mine the day of the rally, saying it was necessary for security and safety, then docked miners their pay for those hours. Asked by WWVA radio's Blomquist about the allegations, Murray Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore said, somewhat confusingly, "Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event."
The campaigns have aired a flurry of coal-centric ads in the past weeks, seeking votes in Ohio and Virginia. The new ad has begun airing in the Youngstown, Ohio, media market, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks new political TV ads when their first air.
The new ad repeats a charge leveled in Obama's last coal ad: that Romney is "not one of us." That ad, released Sept. 23, focused on Romney's personal wealth and his criticism of a coal plant as governor:
UPDATE: Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg e-mails the following response to Obama's ad:
President Obama's policies have devastated the coal industry in Ohio and across the country. The President's burdensome regulations have hindered coal production and resulted in job losses. It is clear that coal country can't afford four more years like the last four years. Mitt Romney will pursue an all of the above energy policy that will harness America's coal resources and other energy resources in order to create jobs in America and provide low-cost reliable energy.