President Barack Obama attacked Republican challenger Mitt Romney for opposing the extension of a tax credit for wind energy, telling a Colorado audience that letting it lapse would cost their state thousands of jobs.
On the second day of a trip through the swing state he won four years ago, Obama returned to criticism of Romney’s tax and economic proposals. He repeated his accusation that Romney’s policies would favor the wealthy over middle-income Americans and big oil companies over alternative energy.
“At a moment when home-grown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” Obama told supporters in Pueblo today.
Romney was raising money in New York and New Jersey before flying to Boston. He told donors at one of two Manhattan fundraisers that Obama’s re-election in November would mean a future of “continued decline” for the U.S.
Obama said his support for extending the wind power tax credit is part of his administration’s plan to put the country on sounder economic footing. The credit is set to expire at the end of the year. Romney’s campaign has said he would let the credit lapse. Congress probably won’t act until after the November election.
A Romney campaign spokeswoman said that while the former Massachusetts governor is “a strong supporter of wind power” he disagrees with Obama’s approach.
“Under President Obama’s approach of massive subsidies and handouts, the industry has lost 10,000 jobs while growth in wind power has slowed every single year of his term,” Amanda Henneberg said in an e-mail. Romney would boost the industry “by promoting policies that remove regulatory barriers, support free enterprise and market-based competition, and reward technological innovation.”
Colorado got 6.6 percent of its power from wind in 2010, eighth highest in the U.S. and the industry supports 5,000 to 6,000 jobs in the state, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Iowa, another swing state where Obama will campaign next week, has the second-highest wind power capacity.
There are about 75,000 U.S. wind-industry workers, including jobs in manufacturing, according to the association. Letting the credit expire will lead to the elimination of 10,000 wind-industry jobs this year and another 27,000 in 2013, the Washington-based trade group estimates.
Obama highlighted his administration’s bailout of the U.S. automakers General Motors Co. (GM:US) and Chrysler Group LLC, saying it brought the industry “roaring back.”
“I want to do the same with manufacturing jobs,” he said, adding that Romney would have let the auto industry go bankrupt while subsidizing “an oil industry that’s already making a lot of profits.”
Obama wraps up the trip with a stop later today in Colorado Springs, a majority-Republican area where the president will try to rally Democrats and appeal to independent voters.
Romney, speaking to donors in Manhattan this morning, said the election’s outcome could set the course of American history for “perhaps for the entire century.”
He compared the U.S. economic situation with that of Japan in the 1990s.
“We are not Japan,” he said. “We are not going to be a nation that suffers in decline and stress for a decade.”
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee raised about $1.5 million at a breakfast today at a Midtown banquet hall. That was part of about $5 million he raised yesterday and today in New Jersey and New York, according to Spencer Zwick, Romney’s finance director.
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