Vice Presidential Pitfalls

By Samantha Hayes in Washington

If asked what the two big stories were in politics last week, you would of course think of the bailout negotiations going on in Congress to try and shore up the financial sector, and to a much lesser degree, Sarah Palin’s latest interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric that was so widely panned in the media, it has even prompted some in Republican circles to call for her to step down as John McCain’s running mate.

Be that as it may, there is another vice presidential candidate in this election who was largely overshadowed last week, who made statements worthy of national media attention, in a race as close as this.

Joe Biden, who has a reputation for making political gaffes, raised some eyebrows in battleground states, where his comments about clean coal technology are all over local newspapers.

Last Tuesday, the Columbus Dispatch reported on remarks Biden made while mingling with a crowd during a campaign stop in Ohio. When he was asked about clean coal, Biden responded by saying: “We’re not supporting clean coal.”  Biden also emphasized his environmental concerns about pollution caused by traditional coal burning in China. “No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them over there make ’em clean because they’re killing you.”

While clean coal might not be as high a priority to Biden, it is interesting to note that in his acceptance speech, Obama promised to “invest in clean-coal technology.”

Ohio and Pennsylvania, key battleground states, where Biden has been making frequent campaign stops, are rich in electoral votes, and….coal.

Of course, John McCain’s campaign didn’t miss this and made a campaign video out of it.

CBS also interviewed Biden last week and when addressing the economic crisis, Biden said Franklin D. Roosevelt went on the television in 1929 to address the stock market crash. Herbert Hoover was president in 1929. And nobody saw him on television, because commercial TV was ten years down the road.

This is not to compare the recent gaffes of our two VP candidates, only to say come this Thursday night, when Biden and Palin debate, there may be plenty of political fodder provided by both candidates.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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