Can Mitt Romney win Ohio by convincing voters in this economically-depressed Appalachian town and those like it that President Obama has declared a “war on coal?”

That’s the message coming from Romney’s Ohio campaign manager, Scott Jennings, who argued in an interview that Mr. Obama’s “hostility to domestic oil production” – particularly when it comes to coal – will help put Romney over the top in this pivotal swing state. Mr. Obama is holding a campaign event in Cincinnati on Monday.

Jennings pointed to the fact that six coal-burning power plants in Ohio – three in or around Cleveland and one each near Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati – are slated to close or have closed, taking hundreds of jobs and much-needed tax revenue with them. Republicans and many in the coal industry attribute the closures in large part to Environmental Protection Agency regulations mandating reduced mercury and other emissions. Jennings said the losses will resonate across a state where the Ohio Coal Association, citing unnamed studies, says there are up to eleven “spin-off” jobs tied to each of the more than 3,000 jobs in the state in the coal industry.

“The energy policies don’t just affect a guy that’s a coal miner,” he said.

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