Romney highlights energy as he makes closing pitch to Ohio voters

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally at Screen Machine Industries in Etna, Ohio.
(Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images)

ETNA, Ohio -- Mitt Romney highlighted his energy policy as he campaigned in this coal-producing state, pledging Friday to increase domestic production and get the continent on track to energy independence.“We’re going to make sure, No. 1, we take full advantage of the energy resources in this country -- our coal, our oil, our gas, our renewables. We’re going to review our regulations as they relate to coal to make sure that burning coal is done in a clean way, but we’re not going to kill the industry like you see the EPA doing under this administration,” Romney told more than 2,000 supporters at a mining equipment factory.

Coal is produced on the eastern and southern parts of the state, but coal has resonance statewide -- Ohio gets four-fifths of its energy from burning coal, and costs are rising. Manufacturing is also dependent on cheap energy.

Romney pledged to take steps his first day in office to get the Keystone pipeline from Canada built, and pledged to double the number of drilling permits on federal lands and waters. Such moves will mean cheaper fuel for cars and to heat homes, and lower energy costs that will mean increased manufacturing. Romney contrasted that with President Obama’s energy policy if he is reelected.

“Why you know he’s going to continue his war on coal, you know he’s going to continue pushing back on oil and natural gas. It just seems to be in the nature of some in his party not to want to support carbon-based sources of energy,” Romney said. “I’ll take America on a very different track. I want to take advantage of the energy resources we have to get good jobs for the American people.”

Romney did not mention the auto bailout, which has been the focus of furious sparring between his campaign and Obama’s. The GOP nominee is airing ads in Ohio that imply that the auto bailout prompted Chrysler to move jobs to China and GM to lay off workers. Both companies denounced the ads, and Obama spoke about the matter, saying workers called their employers asking if their jobs were being shipped overseas.

“Except it’s not true!” he shouted while campaigning in Hilliard, Ohio. “I know we’re close to an election, but this isn’t a game. These are people’s jobs. These are people’s lives.”

The energy pitch is part of Romney’s closing argument to voters, which he first laid out Friday morning in Wisconsin and which includes a rundown of the actions he would take on day one of a Romney presidency. He also pledged to designate China a currency manipulator, grant states waivers to Obamacare, launch a review of all Obama regulations, ask Congress for Trade Promotion Authority and send Congress bills that would immediately cut non-defense discretionary spending by 5% and reshape retraining programs for displaced workers.

Overall, the message to voters is that if President Obama were reelected, that would mean a continuation of the status quo, while a Romney election would create “real change.”

“Talk is cheap, but a record, a record of accomplishment and achievement, that is something that happens with effort. That’s something you can’t fake,” he said, citing his work in the private sector, turning around the Olympics and governing Massachusetts. “And so I’d like the people across the country to give this election some real consideration to decide who can actually get America strong again. I know I know how to do it and that’s why I believe, on Nov. 6, you’re going to give me the nod and I’ll become the next president.”