Beallsville, Ohio (CNN) – Mitt Romney criticized President Obama over his record on coal Tuesday in a speech heavier on attacks than policy specifics.
The presumptive GOP nominee traveled through winding roads deep into Eastern Ohio coal country to deliver his remarks to hundreds of miners standing in uniform outside the Century Mine in Beallsville.
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Romney charged Obama was "waging war on coal" and said the president had broken the promises he'd made to aid the coal industry.
"He talks about how wonderful it is and how we're adding jobs in the coal industry and producing more coal and I thought you know, how in the world can you go out there and just tell people things that aren't true," Romney said, as dozens of miners flanked him onstage. "This is a time for truth. If you don't believe in coal, if you don't believe in energy independence for America, then say it."
A Senate candidate who introduced Romney took a harsher tone, accusing the president of considering coal "a four-letter word."
"I'll tell you this afternoon," said state treasurer Josh Mandel, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. "For any of these folks trying to stand between us and affordable, reliable, dependable energy, we have four words for them: over our dead bodies."
In response to Romney's speech, Obama's reelection campaign circulated video of remarks the Republican made about coal years earlier, in 2003. The video shows then-Massachusetts Gov. Romney standing before a Salem coal plant and saying: "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people."
Asked whether Romney had changed his policy on coal, a campaign spokesperson did not offer specifics.
Instead, adviser Kevin Madden said it was "clear" Romney viewed coal as an important part of his all-inclusive energy policy.
"He's made very clear where he stands on this position, that he believes that it's an important part of an all of the above energy policy," Madden said. If we're going to bring back the manufacturing sector in this country and continue to grow the economy, that sources of energy like coal – and coal which is very important to this economy and this region of Ohio and other states, that it's important to be supportive of the coal industry."
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