Monday, May 16, 2016

Hillary Clinton still trying to win over coal country ahead of Tuesday's primary in Kentucky

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who easily won Kentucky in the 2008 primary against President Obama, will have a tougher go this time around during Tuesday's primary in the Bluegrass State. The main issue is coal, with Clinton putting her foot in her mouth in March by saying "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business" with rules to fight climate change. Clinton admitted that she misspoke, and has a plan to help laid-off miners, but the comment hasn't hurt her in a red state that has lost more than half its coal jobs during the Obama administration.

During speeches Sunday "Clinton touted her plan for coal country," Catherine Lucey reports for The Associated Press. "Her proposals include protecting miners' health care coverage and retirement programs, investing in infrastructure in mining communities and repurposing mines. Clinton pledged to put husband Bill Clinton—who won the state in 1992 and 1996—'in charge of revitalizing the economy.' She provided no further details, but during Bill Clinton's administration, economic growth averaged 4 percent per year, median family income rose and the budget deficit was turned into a surplus."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders same to Kentucky and talked about polls showing he would do better than Clinton against Republican Donald Trump, Joseph Gerth reports for The Courier-Journal. Sanders told supporters, "We do very well with Democrats but we also do very well with independents and the Democratic leadership may not know it yet but independents are the fastest growing segment of the American political system."

Sanders was running only 5 percentage points behind Clinton in an early-March poll, before she made her coal comment, and could benefit from Trump supporters who are registered Democrats, writes Courier-Journal contributing columnist Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog.

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