Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama’s Words on Bankrupting the Coal Industry: You Be the Judge

Revelations yesterday of an audio-tape of Obama stating that his cap and trade system would bankrupt coal-powered plants has caused furor. Democrats claim clips were taken out of context. The San Francisco Chronicle didn’t make a transcript available.

According to SFGate Politics Blog, the ''hidden'' audio with Sen. Barack Obama regarding his statements on coal, was never hidden. “The entire interview has been in the public domain, available on line to the public -- and to the McCain campaign -- since early January.”

The link that SFGate provided, however, is for an mp3 download. The article didn’t provide a link to a full transcript.

Tony Rutherford, a reporter with Huntington News, wrote today that the audio-tape came from a San Francisco Chronicle interview with Obama on Jan 17, 2008, and the published story on Jan 18 provided no transcript.

Democrats have cried “out of context” regarding the interview; however, a verbatim transcript obtained by ABC NEWS indicates that the Presidential candidate stressed that unless technology can “sequester that carbon and capture it… we’re gonna still be working on alternatives.”

The questionable part of the interview follows the above quote but Rutherford’s article failed to provide a quote or a transcript. Rutherford did comment:

But Obama’s statement in context would allow coal that when burned gives off low emissions of carbon.

So far no major news services have published the full transcript. However, transcripts can be found at Gateway Pundit, Politics and Critical Thinking, The Partisan Report, and ABC news Political Punch blog.

Here’s a portion of what Obama said in that audio-clip that caused the outrage.

Let me sort of describe my overall policy.
What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there. . .
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. . .

Gateway Pundit wrote that Obama’s stance on coal goes “hand-in-hand” with what he said about nuclear energy. “His preconditions make it impossible to expand nuclear energy at this time.”

Additionally GP reminded readers that “Obama said he would raise power and fuel prices to change our bad habits and that it's going to hurt.” See Opinion:Can We Afford to Forget Obama’s Price Signals?

Edited clips from the Obama coal interview audio tape can be found on YouTube here and here.

See the following update from Memeorandum

Palin suggests Chronicle withheld Obama remarks  —  (11-02) 20:33 PST — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in a campaign appearance Sunday, criticized comments about coal technology that Sen. Barack Obama made to The Chronicle editorial board in January, and suggested that the newspaper withheld …

Discussion: Scripting News, Taylor Marsh, CNN, Comments from Left Field, Sweetness & Light, Donklephant, Gateway Pundit,, The Jed Report and Wonk Room


  1. This morning, a spokesperson for St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, was quoted as saying, 'Electricity Costs Would Skyrocket' Under Obama. It's true! Obama wants to cripple and/or kill an industry!!!

  2. Thank you for the link to ABC news transcript, ;which is more complete than some of the others you list, although none are of the entire interview. Since when is ABC not the MSM?

  3. Beth:
    That was from the ABC Political Punch blog rather than a straight news story.

  4. Greg:

    This is from an interview from January 17th-- over EIGHT MONTHS ago. There are a lot of ways to interpret this when put into a proper context.

    But the McCain campaign DOESN'T want a well thought out conversation about this. They could have put this on the table during ANY of the debates. They had 8 months to talk about this.

    Instead, they've chosen to throw this out at the 11th hour-- so the words "bankrupt" and "coal" could SCARE people in coal producing states right before they go into the voting booth.

    Shame on John McCain. I had so much more respect for him before his last ditch smear campaign of the past few days.

  5. I missed Palin's comments about this.

    Bob McCarty is correct, under Obama everything will cost more, specifically any type of energy or energy related industry.

    Debbie Hamilton
    Right Truth

  6. Faultline, I consider the blogs written by reporters on the MSM websites to be part of their coverage, whether for television on the Wall Street Journal, or whatever. Again, I thank you for listing it, as it was seemingly more complete that those of the other links I checked among those you provided.

  7. Anonymous and Beth;
    As you may or may not have gleaned from my article, that the S.F. Chronicle didn’t provide a transcript from the original interview and the audio was a mp3 download. Not exactly what we have come to accept as easily available to the public. I made a diligent search for transcripts and listed the links that I could find.

    Although I will fault the McCain campaign for not doing a better search for this story, common sense must tell you that they wouldn’t have waited to “throw this out at the 11th hour,” if they had found it earlier.

    I also found it very telling that none of the “legitimate” MSM wanted to post the entire transcript, or the audio, or the video, and it was only later in the day when I was able to obtain the S.F. Chronicle YouTube video for my readers. Again, common sense must tell you that the left-leaning MSM didn’t really want this thing to get legs.

    Now you can actually listen to Obama and see him speaking, and make up your mind for yourself as to what he meant.