McCain stood up for coal in 2008 rally at Tri-Cities Airport

Hank Hayes • Aug 30, 2018 at 8:28 AM

GOP presidential nominee John McCain was at Tri-Cities Airport in one of his last 2008 campaign stops, and I was there to cover it.

And, like then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2016, McCain was making the case for the coal industry.

McCain’s campaign motto was “Country First.”

McCain, who recently died as a result of a brain tumor, warned that Democratic opponent Barack Obama, who became a two-term president, could bankrupt the coal industry.

“I’m not going to let our coal industry go bankrupt,” McCain pledged on the eve of the presidential election before a cheering crowd of more than 5,000 Republicans from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Obama had been talking out of both sides of his mouth about coal.

At McCain’s rally, the McCain campaign distributed a paper citing a January interview with Obama, who was quoted as saying: “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

But back in June of that year, Obama held a town hall rally in Bristol, Va., and talked about clean coal technology.

McCain called Obama’s vice presidential running mate Joe Biden “the gift that keeps on giving” in reference to Biden’s remark that Obama would be ready to be tested by an international crisis within six months if elected.

“I’ve been tested, and I passed that test. ... He said he would sit down unconditionally with dictators,” McCain said of Obama. “We’re going to win in Iraq. We’re going to win in Afghanistan.”

McCain also joked about his appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” where he did a skit with Tina Fey, the look-alike actress who played his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin.

“I really believe Sarah Palin and Tina Fey were separated at birth,” McCain quipped.

Of all the signs brought into the rally, one seemed to sum up the loud crowd’s mood. That sign read: “If John McCain wins, God bless him. If Barack Obama wins, God help us all.”

McCain took Tennessee, but Obama won Virginia.