Romney Supports Coal Industry In Belmont County

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning today in the mostly rural, Appalachian part of Ohio.

Romney's first stop was in the small town of Beallsville in Belmont County.

Joe Vardon is a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch.

He was there for the "coal event."

"Today's speech…was more about what you saw than what you heard," says Vardon. "It was the visual of Governor Romney standing literally on top of a coal mine with dozens of coal workers…kinda standing behind him…and him talking about his overall support for the industry.  It is that visual that is meant to contrast with President Obama and what are perceived to be his policies that have hurt the coal industry.  It's a narravative that both Romney and the Republicans have pushed for a long time…"

Vardon says Romney's pro-coal message was welcomed by the Ohio coal-country crowd, estimated at 1500.

He says "A lot of people wearing hard hats (were on hand) and a lot of people who say 'coal is my livelihood so I'm going to vote for somebody who I perceive to be a supporter of coal.'  Let's bring up, Romney, before he became a presidential candidate, had a checkered past with the industry.  Some of the things he said about coal powered plants, some of the policies he pushed as governor of Massachusetts don't exactly align with it but as a presidential candidate he has pledged himself as a defender of the industry."

Romney's next stop is Zanesville and later today he'll go to Chillicothe.