Candidates vie for votes from miners, elderly and a billionaire
THE US presidential and vice- presidential candidates yesterday fanned out across five swing states that will be decisive in the November 6th election to vie for support from coal miners, farmers, the elderly and at least one Las Vegas billionaire.
US president Barack Obama continued his bus tour across Iowa, a state he won by 10 points in 2008, but where he is now tied with Republican candidate Mitt Romney in polls. In Oskaloosa, Obama emphasised the importance of wind energy, which accounts for 32 per cent of new electricity capacity and employs 75,000 people.
The president’s spokesmen said Republican opposition to extending tax credits for wind energy could destroy 37,000 jobs and claimed some Republicans are in “utter disbelief” that Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, oppose the tax credit extension.
Romney held three rallies in Ohio, the first at a coal field. Coal miners obeyed their union leaders’ recommendations in voting for Obama four years ago, but now see Obama’s emphasis on clean, renewable solar and wind energy as a threat to their livelihood.
US vice-president Joe Biden, at 69 the eldest of the four candidates, told supporters in Virginia that the Republicans and Wall Street want to put Americans “back in chains”.
Referring to the draft budget drawn up by Ryan, who is chairman of the House budget committee, Biden said: “Look what they’re proposing . . . [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules – unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
The Romney campaign said the vice-president’s remarks represented “a new low” and were “not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama campaign will say and do anything to win this election”.
In North Carolina the previous day, Biden derided those who have called the Ryan budget bold. “What’s gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break?” he asked. “What’s gutsy about gutting Medicare, Medicaid, education?”
In Ryan’s first solo appearance as Romney’s running mate, at the Iowa State Fair on Monday afternoon, two-dozen hecklers shouting “Are you going to cut Medicare?”, “Stop the war on the poor”, “Stop the war on the middle class”, and “Hands off social security” forced the vice-presidential candidate to cut short his speech. Supporters and opponents shouted each other down and police and the secret service swarmed the stage to remove protesters.