President Obama’s gaffe in Monday’s debate when he told voters in the Norfolk area, home to the largest naval base in the country, that his second term plan is to further diminish the role of our Navy, isn’t his only political weakness in the key swing state of Virginia.
On Sunday, 5,000 coal miners and their families gathered in Grundy, Virginia to protest the President’s war on coal. As Stacy McCain reported:
You remember Grundy, Virginia, the Appalachian town whose airport expansion was stalled by federal regulators because of the Obama administration’s “War on Coal.” The photo above shows part of the crowd that attended today’s pro-coal rally in Grundy, and was sent to me by Debra McCown, who reports that the sheriff’s department estimated the crowd as at least 5,500 — in a town whose population is only 1,100.
One early report from the Bluefield (W.Va.) Daily Telegraph said: “The traffic was backed up from Poplar Gap Park to U.S. 460 in Grundy, Va., and backed up to Haysi, Va., in the other direction.”
UPDATE: To understand how deeply the “War on Coal” hits Appalachia, read Matt Vespa’s account at the Hot Air Green Room:
The issue has stoked anger against the Obama administration amongst voters in these areas. In the Williamson Daily News, a local paper circulated in Kentucky and West Virginia, staff writer Julia Roberts Goad wrote on October 13 about how United for Coal, “a citizens group created to support the coal mining industry” has declared that “our government has decided to commit ‘Regional Genocide’ against our people …”
UPDATE II: Mitt Romney’s son Matt spoke at the rally in Grundy, as did Susan Allen, wife of Virginia Senate candidate George Allen…
UPDATE III: Debra McCown has now filed her report of the Grundy rally and it’s got the quote of the day year millenium:
“The only promise Obama kept was to kill coal,” said Jerry Shortt, a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day — and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent.
“You see all these people? I bet you a quarter of them’s laid off,” he said. “I know a lot of people that did [vote for Obama] that are not going to next time. Hope turned into damnation.”
Recent polls show that Mitt Romney has built a three-point lead over President Obama in Virginia. Obama’s strategy to kill coal in the western part of the state and diminish the Navy in the eastern part of the state has done little to help the president narrow that gap. While both the Democrats and the Republicans have mounted weak ground games in these two regions, independent tea party efforts have aggressively been knocking on the doors of undecided voters, with significant effect.
The President has but one hope left for Virginia, and that is to persuade voters in the suburban bureaucratic bedroom communities of Northern Virginia that another Obama term means job security and economic growth for that area. But it’s unlikely he’ll be able to make up enough ground in Northern Virginia to overcome his growing losses in the eastern and western parts of the state. Though the Democratic Party is mounting a stronger ground game in Northern Virginia, those efforts are being offset by an aggressive door to door effort by both the local GOP and area tea party groups.
These recent developments give credence to a report in Tuesday’s Washington Examiner that Team Obama is considering the possibility that they may have to abandon Virginia and focus on other swing states where they have a better chance of winning.