This is the strongest statement either presidential candidate has made on coal.
"That plant kills people," Mitt Romney said in 2003, pointing at the Salem Harbor power plant. He was right -- one estimate suggests that 20 people die each year due to pollution from the plant, now managed by Dominion Energy. "They have thumbed their nose at the people of Massachusetts and Salem Harbor by not cleaning it up on time. So we’re saying, clean it up on time, do the job in the community, invest in cleaning technology."
Romney's language is far stronger than any President Obama has ever used on coal. In fact, the president's campaign is using that line to attack Romney in radio ads in coal-producing states.
How the hell did this happen? How is it that the Democratic presidential candidate is embracing the most noxious form of energy production in America, while his opponent is on record saying that it should be cleaned up?
In 2003, Romney was governor of Massachusetts, a state that demands moderation from its Republicans. It's a flashing glimpse of the Romney that could have been -- a rich moderate of the noblesse oblige tradition, fighting for those needing a defender within view of those most likely to cast votes. And then 2008 happened and 2012 happened and the Romney that presented himself to the GOP electorate morphed. During the heat of last fall's GOP primary, Romney changed his position on climate change. There is no way today's Romney would even consider making a speech similar to that exhortation of 2003.