By Chris White
September 12, 2017 - The biggest regret former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had during the presidential campaign was telling blue collar people in Ohio that her presidency would put the coal industry out of business, according to an excerpt from the Democrat’s forthcoming book.
Clinton blamed the media for blowing out of proportion comments she made in Ohio suggesting her presidency would end coal’s dominance in the energy markets. Clinton’s forthcoming book “What Happened” also heaped some of the blame for her poor performance in coal states on former President Barack Obama.
“It wasn’t the first time that happened during the 2016 election, and it wouldn’t be the last. But it is the one I regret the most.” Clinton wrote in a chapter titled “Country Roads,” which deals primarily with how she campaigned in Ohio and other states dependent on coal production. Her book will be released Sept. 12, but The Daily Caller News Foundation has reviewed portions of the book’s digital copy.
She also suggests the media was responsible for turning President Donald Trump into a candidate incapable of being tarnished while at the same time lavishing loads of criticism against her campaign for the “smallest slipups.”
“The backlash was infuriating for many reasons. For one, there was the double standard,” she wrote. “Donald Trump hardly went a single day on the campaign trail without saying something offensive. He received criticism, but it rarely stuck.”
Clinton also argued that Obama’s decision to sign the so-called Clean Power Plan in Washington, D.C. rather than in West Virginia or Ohio helped doom her presidency in those states.
She believes that the former president should have coupled his signing of the order with a “big effort” to attract new jobs and development in the coal states.
Coal is still a major part of the U.S. power grid, but the industry has taken a hit during the past several years. There are 83,000 fewer coal jobs and 400 fewer coal mines than when Obama was elected in 2008. A 2015 study found that the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term.
Many energy analysts argue that the advent of natural gas and an increase in renewable energy products like solar and wind power have played a part in coal’s slow decline.
Coal power provided about 33 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. in 2015, according to data from the EIA. Natural gas provided another 33 percent, while nuclear generated 20 percent. That same year, wind and solar power only accounted for 4.7 and 0.6 percent, respectively, of electricity generation.
Clinton said she could not simply avoid coal country because she could not hope to win the presidency without at least making an effort to win votes in places like Kentucky.
“Appearing to dismiss the men and women of Coal Country – or any Americans working hard against the odds to build better lives for themselves and their families – wasn’t something I could just shrug off,” she wrote. “This really bothered me, and I wanted badly to do something about it.”