Ryan blasts Obama energy policies in Ohio

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Paul Ryan, US Republican Vice Presidential candidate and US Representative of Wisconsin, Dover, New Hampshire

Paul Ryan, US Republican Vice Presidential candidate and US Representative of Wisconsin (AP photo)

BELMONT, Ohio (AP) – Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is criticizing the Obama administration for what he says is its war on coal as he campaigns in eastern Ohio.

Ryan urged about 1,100 supporters at a rainy rally in Belmont to vote early for the GOP ticket, telling them they are in the “battleground of battleground states.”

The area is close to West Virginia and in a region of Ohio where the Romney campaign thinks it can swing voters its way because of concerns about the economy and the future of the coal industry under President Barack Obama.

Ryan told supporters they could be the “linchpin” in the election. The head of the AFL-CIO says claims by Romney and Ryan they will serve the people of coal regions are baseless and insulting.

Before heading to Ohio, Ryan spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of about 500 people at a hanger near the Pittsburgh International Airport, saying Romney can win Pennsylvania.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found Romney now trails Democratic President Barack Obama by just 4 percentage points among likely Pennsylvania voters.

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