About a month ago, Mitt Romney traveled to Beallsville, Ohio, for a campaign event with of a group of coal miners. Among other things, the Republicans told his audience that President Obama "took the work requirement out of welfare," a claim which remains patently false.
A month later, the footage from Beallsville, using coal miners as a prop, is the subject of a new Romney campaign attack ad, hoping to convince voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania that the president hasn't done enough for the coal industry. The ad, however, has become controversial for reasons Romney probably didn't expect.
Mitt Romney's campaign is airing two ads in eastern Ohio that include footage of the coal miners who lost pay because he campaigned at their mine. [...]
The footage is from Romney's Aug. 14 campaign stop at the Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio, owned by a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. It was later learned that the miners on stage were ordered out of the mine because of Romney's campaign stop and were not paid for the portion of their shift that was canceled by the event.
It's also worth noting that several of the miners who appeared behind Romney have said "they were forced to attend" the campaign event by the mine's owner, Robert Murray, an ardent Romney backer and major GOP donor. Asked for an explanation, a plant executive responded, "Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event."
If you don't know what that means, you and I are on the same page.
Ohio AFL-CIO spokesman Michael Gillis told reporters, "The Romney Campaign now knows full well that those miners, wage earners as they are, missed a day's pay when they were required to attend the event. Instead of those workers providing for their families and putting food on the table that day, they were used as political props by a candidate that understands nothing about the plight of the average American."
It's also worth noting that Romney isn't the only Republican with a coal problem. This story out of Kentucky is pretty amazing.
An official with the United Mine Workers of America union lambasted a new TV ad by Republican Andy Barr on Monday because it features a Western Kentucky coal executive who appears to be speaking as an Eastern Kentucky miner.
In the ad, Heath Lovell, the vice president of River View Coal in Union County, accuses Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of trying to destroy the coal industry. Lovell is wearing a t-shirt, bib overalls and a coal miner's helmet. He is identified by name only.
"I've never seen anything so appalling and deceitful from the coal industry and in a campaign," said Steve Earle, a regional vice president of the UMWA in Kentucky. "You have a pencil pusher acting like a coal miner."
Did Republicans assume no one would notice?