FRANKFORT — Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson questions opponent Rand Paul's commitment to coal in his U.S. Senate campaign's first TV ad, which will run on WYMT-TV in Hazard and several Eastern Kentucky cable stations.
The ad shows Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, speaking to a group of his father's supporters in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Feb. 2, 2008. At the time, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was running for president.
"Coal's a very dirty form of energy," Rand Paul says. "You may have coal around here that needs to be mined, but I mean the thing is that it's probably one of the least favorable forms of energy."
Grayson then says he has "consistently favored Kentucky coal to create good jobs" and pledges to "fight against Obama's war on coal and for clean coal and for Kentucky jobs."
Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson said Paul's comments in 2008 illustrate that he has flip-flopped on coal.
"He says one thing to Kentucky voters and then consistently takes a completely different stance with the out-of-state donors who are devout followers of his father's fringe agenda and make up 80 percent of his contributors," Hodson said.
Hodson accused Paul of making similar "180 degree" switches on abortion and closing of the Guantanamo terrorist detention facility.
Paul's campaign manager, David Adams, said the ad is "another Grayson distortion."
Adams said Grayson "is trying to reduce our energy policy to a simple sound bite. Rand Paul wants to protect our coal industry and Grayson is using a silly attack ad to make people think differently."
Asked if Paul called coal "a very dirty form of energy" and "probably one of the least favorable forms of energy," Adams said: "Anyone who has picked up a lump of coal knows it's different than switch grass.
"That's all Rand Paul was saying and Grayson inappropriately is trying to paint it that he's against coal."
Adams said he expects the Grayson campaign will use similar ads, "trying to mislead the public with Rand Paul's own words taken out of context.
"Such tactics show how desperate they are getting. They've done this now on coal, abortion and Guantanamo. That's three strikes already on the Grayson campaign's 'truth-o-meter.'"
Bill Bissett, who started work Monday as president of the Kentucky Coal Association, expressed pleasure that the U.S. Senate candidates are talking about coal.
"Whether or not a candidate supports and believes in Kentucky coal should be a part of every race, but especially a race that is going to send a person to Washington to represent the Commonwealth," Bissett said.
"While Kentuckians should learn about their candidates from more sources than TV ads, it is good to see candidates stating their positions clearly regarding their support of Kentucky's reliable and inexpensive energy provider—coal."