Here, via the Washington Post, is one of the spots.
The spot is called “War on Coal,” in a nice little bit of subtlety. Oh, but wait. Did you see this shot?
The Beallsville rally, you may remember, is the one at which miners were told that attendance was mandatory — and they were docked a day’s pay for the privilege of showing up.
That’s right: Mitt Romney’s ad touting his deep, abiding love of the coal industry appears to feature miners who were made to attend by their boss and who did so at the cost of a day’s salary.
We’ll note that the content of the ad, the “war on coal,” is itself a complete myth. The number of jobs in coal has expanded under President Obama. The primary enemy of the domestic coal industry is natural gas — now the dominant energy source for power production.
But here, that’s secondary. While still battling the aftershocks of footage in which Romney derides people who think that “they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” the campaign pushes out an ad using as a backdrop workers whose mandatory attendance meant a reduction in their paychecks.
As long as they don’t feel like they’re entitled to their salary, I guess, they’re OK in Romney’s book.
Update: The Romney campaign confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that the ad features miners from the “mandatory” rally.
We’ve reached out to the Romney campaign for a response.
Update: And we got one.
We asked the Romney campaign for a response to their using what amounts to unpaid labor in their ads. Instead, we got this:
It remains a widely accepted fact among Democrats and Republicans alike that President Obama has spent the past four years waging a war on coal that has devastated Ohio workers and coal communities. This is one reason why the nation’s largest coal mining union, the United Mine Workers of America, has refused to endorse his reelection. The devastating news that the President’s policies have terminated another 1,200 coal jobs in Appalachia lends further credibility to the notion that Barack Obama’s failed economic policies simply have not delivered results for middle-class families.
If you prefer not to have to read all that, just scroll up and click play on the ad. Doing so, I’d like to point out, is very much not mandatory.