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Obama slams Romney's opposition to wind energy tax credit

August 09, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey | This post has been updated, as indicated below.
  • President Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo.
President Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Colorado State Fairgrounds… (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images )

PUEBLO, Colo. – President Obama kept the pressure on GOP opponent Mitt Romney on Thursday in a fight over a wind energy tax credit, as he stumped in southeastern Colorado, a hub of wind power.

“At a moment when homegrown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. Think about what that would mean for a community like Pueblo,” Obama told a crowd of about 3,500 people at the Colorado State Fairgrounds. “The wind industry supports about 5,000 jobs across this state. Without those tax credits, 37,000 American jobs, including potentially hundreds of jobs right here in Pueblo, would be at risk.”

With that jab, the campaign welcomed to the trail a perennial feature: the swing state micro-issue.

Whether it’s ethanol subsidies in Iowa or Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada, candidates have long sought to land on the right side of local concerns out of fear that they can have an outsized impact in an important  state. In the case of the wind credits, the impact could be felt in two key states: Iowa and Colorado, both major producers in the still-nascent industry that is dependent on federal tax credits.

Romney has said he does not support the extension of the tax credit, a position in line with his criticism of Obama’s investment in alternative-energy production. Romney has cast Obama’s green energy push as ill-advised and wasteful, zeroing in on the federal investment in the failed solar firm Solyndra.

But it’s a position that had the GOP candidate catching flak as he toured Iowa on Wednesday.

Obama piled on in remarks on Thursday.

“Colorado, it is time to stop spending billions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that’s already making a lot of profit, and keep investing in a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. That’s the choice in this election,” Obama said.

Obama also drew a contrast on immigration, ribbing Romney for his support for “something called self-deportation,” while touting his recent decision to allow some young illegal immigrants -- those brought to the U.S. as children -- to stay in the country.

Obama described the so-called “dream” kids as American “in every single way except a piece of paper.”

The Romney campaign called the former Massachusetts governor a “strong supporter” of wind power, but argued the industry would benefit from less government support. Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the Republican candidate would "set the industry on a course for success and growth by promoting policies that remove regulatory barriers, support free enterprise and market-based competition, and reward technological innovation.”

[For the Record, 11:50 a.m. PST  Aug. 9: This post has been updated to include the Romney's campaign's response to Obama's remarks.]

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kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

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