I think this is what the Obama campaign call nuance. Don't like one of their positions? Wait 5 minute, it'll "CHANGE"
WILKES-BARRE (AP) — Joe Biden has been sending mixed signals about his position on coal.
Last week, he told a woman in Ohio that he and Barack Obama don't support clean coal and flatly said, "No coal plants here in America."
Campaigning in Pennsylvania coal country on Thursday, the Democratic vice presidential nominee said the government should steer more money to clean coal — a term used to describe a variety of emerging technologies that burn coal for electricity without producing as much pollution.
"I am for clean coal," he told The Associated Press following a speech in Wilkes-Barre.
It's an issue that resonates with some working-class voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has had trouble connecting with. Pennsylvania Democrats gave Sen. Hillary Clinton a 10-point victory in the April primary.
Pennsylvania is the nation's No. 4 coal-producing state; the industry employs more than 7,000 people at nearly 800 mines, and many voters come from coal-mining families. The administration of Gov. Ed Rendell has invested millions of dollars in clean coal technology in the state.
The Obama campaign has said it supports clean coal technology, specifically the development of coal-fired plants that capture carbon dioxide emissions and store the gas underground. Obama even mentioned clean coal in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
But Biden himself has not been as clear.
The Delaware senator was working a rope line in Maumee, Ohio, on Sept. 17 when a voter asserted that wind and solar energy were "flourishing" in Ohio and then asked Biden why he supported clean coal.
"We're not supporting clean coal," Biden replied, putting his hands on the woman's shoulders. "Guess what? China's building two every week, two dirty coal plants, and it's polluting the United States. It's causing people to die."
Later in the exchange, he said: "No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they're going to build them, over there (in China). Make them clean, because they're killing you."
A few days after his Ohio comments, Biden told hundreds of coal-mining families in Virginia that he was a "hard-coal miner" who was born and raised in Scranton — leading Republicans to accuse him of feeding different messages to different crowds.
Biden spokesman David Wade said the message has been consistent. In Ohio, Biden was trying to convey that "even if we stopped investing in clean coal tomorrow, the reality is China is building dirty coal-fired power plants, which contributes to global warming," Wade said.
At a stop Thursday in the Pittsburgh suburb of Greensburg, Biden said the government should be spending money to support clean coal, biofuels and solar energy.
At the event in Wilkes-Barre — about 15 miles from his boyhood home — Biden also accused Republican presidential nominee John McCain of contributing to the financial meltdown by supporting the removal of barriers between investment banks and commercial banks.
Biden said the government's bailout of financial companies must treat taxpayers like investors so that, when the economy recovers, Wall Street and the government repay the money. "If this is worked out well, folks, not only will we not lose the money invested, there may actually be money to be made," he said.
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