Clinton faces tough crowd in West Virginia coal country

AP News
Posted: May 02, 2016 8:06 PM
Clinton faces tough crowd in West Virginia coal country

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) — Hillary Clinton faced some angry voters Monday during a campaign swing through West Virginia, a state that overwhelmingly backed her eight years ago in her primary fight against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Bo Copley, an unemployed coal worker, asked Clinton why voters should believe her pledge to help revitalize the region's economy during a stop at a health center in Williamson.

"Still supporting her hurts you," he told Sen. Joe Manchin, who joined Clinton at the small round-table event. "It's not a good outlook here."

Clinton released a $30 billion plan last fall aimed at aiding communities dependent on coal production and she's promised that her husband would focus on revitalizing the region.

Her efforts haven't been helped by a remark she made in a March interview with CNN, when she said she would "put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." She was responding to a question about how her policies would benefit poor white people in southern states.

Copley asked, "How you could say you are going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend?"

Clinton called the comment a "misstatement."

"I can't take it back, and I certainly can't get people who, for political reasons or personal reasons, very painful reasons, are upset with me," she said. "I want you to know I'm going to do whatever I can to help no matter what happens politically."

She added, "Whether or not West Virginia supports me, I'm going to support you."

Copley says he plans to vote in the Republican primary May 10.

Clinton is in the midst of a two-day campaign swing through Appalachia ahead of voting in that region later this month. She was met in West Virginia by hundreds of protesters, who waved Donald Trump signs and chanted "Kill-ary."