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West Virginia's Capito brings coal to center stage at GOP convention

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West Virginia's Capito brings coal to center stage at GOP convention

WestVirginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito brought coal to center stage July 19 at theRepublican National Convention, stressing the need to push back on the Obamaadministration's "war on coal" in her appeal for a Donald Trumppresidency.

Towardthe end of a night dedicated to the economy, titled "Make America WorkAgain," Capito took the Obama administration to task for what she saw asregulatory overreach and its impact on the coal industry.

"Hispolicies have ripped through the heartland, creating a cycle of pessimism anddisgust," Capito said to audience members holding signs reading "TrumpDigs Coal." "People around the country feel the Obama administrationhas kicked them to the curb with a callousness that's damaged their ability totrust and respect government."

TheWest Virginia senatorthen drew a direct line to a possible Hillary Clinton victory in November,suggesting the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee would simply be acontinuation of the Obama administration when it came to the regulations sooften cited as damaging to the coal sector.

Capitoalso connected commentsmade by Clinton earlier this year regarding the fate of the U.S. coal industrywith comments about the bankruptcy of coal made by President Barack Obama in2008, each providing industry advocates with a rallying cry during electionseason.

"Shehas promised to devastate communities and families across coal country,"she said, describing the downstream impact of the industry downturn. "Iweep for the fabric of my state. West Virginia workers are the backbone of thiseconomy and Hillary Clinton is promising to put them out of work?"

Followingthe uproar surrounding her comments, Clinton sought to clarify her remarks bystating they were related to the need to provide funding to ailing coalcommunities. Clinton met with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to say she was "mistakenwith her remarks" and promoted a "Marshall Plan" for the region.

Despitethe jobs theme of the night, Capito used some of her speech to challengeClinton on her handling of State Department emails, echoing most of the event'sspeakers in using it to suggest the Democrat is untrustworthy and unfit to bepresident.

"HillaryClinton understands coal miners and blue-collar workers about as well as sheunderstands secure email," Capito quipped.

However,Capito was able to connect the issue to Clinton's handling of federalregulations and the coal industry as a whole.

"Theonly thing we can trust Hillary to do is to double-down on the same failedObama policies that are hurting Americans," Capito said. "We know shewill double-down on an economic agenda that's led to the lowest work forceparticipation in decades. We know that she will double-down on the 'war oncoal.'"

WhileCapito did not endorse Trump until the Republican primaries had come to an end,the senator firmly supported the party's chosen candidate, telling CNBC shortlybefore her speech that "sometimes you have to be gracious and say, 'I didn'tget everything I wanted, but for the greater good, and we have to believe thatwhere we're going to take this country is for the greater good,' we'll supportthe candidate."

Capito'ssupport also reflects her state's position on Clinton, which dealt her asignificant blowduring the Democratic primaries by supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders with 51.4% ofthe vote to Clinton's 36%.