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Kaine hits back on coal in new ad

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine is turning the tables on GOP opponent George Allen in a new TV ad, pushing back on Allen’s attempts to portray Kaine as unfriendly to coal workers.

In an ad called “Big Boys,” the Kaine campaign uses the voice of a coal miner from Haysi named Jeff to accuse Allen of representing the interests of energy companies ahead of their workers.

“I’m worried about my future,” Jeff says. “Peabody Energy put our pensions at risk, pensions we coal miners earned with sweat and blood. George Allen represented Peabody Energy. They’re one of his biggest donors. Allen knows where his bread is buttered.”

The United Mine Workers of America is suing Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. in southern West Virginia over pension and health-care benefits for bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp.’s active and retired miners. Peabody was one of Allen’s energy consulting company’s clients and is a donor to his campaign.

“He’s for the big boys,” Jeff says of Allen. “As governor, Tim Kaine put a coal miner in charge of mine safety and supported the new Wise coal plant and its jobs. Tim Kaine’s for me.”

“With a record of supporting policies that hurt coal, Tim Kaine is scraping the bottom of the barrel with a TV ad that desperately attempts to attack George Allen’s pro-energy record,” responded Allen campaign spokeswoman Emily Davis. “The fact that no one seems to remember Tim Kaine’s role in the Wise County coal-fired plant doesn’t keep him from trying to take the credit others deserve.”

Allen and other Republican groups have hammered on Kaine on coal-related issues, most notably his support for cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon emissions they claim would devastate the industry and Southwest Virginia’s economy.