The speech revived accu­sa­tions from coal advo­cates that Obama is waging a “war on coal.” The industry had sought to pop­u­larize that refrain in swing states that pro­duce coal during the 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, without much effect. Obama won in Ohio, Vir­ginia and Penn­syl­vania, where coal pro­ducers tar­geted much of their efforts.

Christo­pher Bosso, a polit­ical sci­ence pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, said the fed­eral aid to the coal industry could help pro­tect Democ­rats who are facing elec­tion in 2014 in coal-​​centric states.

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