DENVER – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has added a second campaign event in Basalt Thursday afternoon after a morning event in Golden, his first campaign appearance since returning from an international tour.
On Thursday afternoon, Romney will join several GOP governors, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, all in town for an executive roundtable in Aspen, at a high school in nearby Basalt.
Romney was already scheduled to attend a campaign fundraiser in Aspen Thursday night.
The campaign announced Monday night that the Thursday morning event will take place at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at 11:15 a.m., although no other details have been released.
Romney’s campaign has informed FOX31 Denver that the candidate will not be doing any separate interviews with local media during this trip, which will mark Romney’s first appearance in the Denver metro area since February, when he held a rally at Arapahoe High School on the eve of Colorado’s GOP Caucuses, which he lost to Rick Santorum.
Since locking up the GOP nomination, Romney has made three campaign stops in the state that have focused on energy policy in places like Craig, Fort Morgan and Grand Junction; earlier this month, Romney stopped in Colorado Springs to thank volunteers helping victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire, although no public events were held there.
While it’s unclear what Romney’s Thursday event will look like, or if he’ll take questions from the media, the looming Colorado campaign stop could again focus on energy issues after a report Monday that Romney opposes renewing the wind Production Tax Credit that Colorado’s entire congressional delegation — including three of the four Republicans — supports extending.
Romney’s campaign spelled out the candidate’s position on the issue to the Des Moines Register earlier Monday.
“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, said in the statement. “Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results.”
That position could hurt Romney in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado, a group of swing states home to wind energy manufacturers who could be forced to lay off thousands of workers.
“This is proof positive Mitt Romney does not understand the Centennial state,” said Pete Maysmith, executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters. “Colorado voters have consistently endorsed wind energy and voted for candidates who support renewable energy. His head in the sand stance is even more baffling given this is a jobs issue.”
Vestas’s CEO has stated that Congress’s failure to renew the wind PTC would force the company to lay off most of its 1,700 employees in Colorado.
Of Colorado’s Republicans in Congress, Reps. Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton and Mike Coffman all support extending the wind PTC; Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, is the only GOP member who opposes it.
“The irony in all this is that Mitt Romney talks about a level playing field for all sources of energy,” Maysmith said. “In fact, he’s got his thumb on the scales in favor of big oil. Four billion dollars a year in subsidies go to big oil. Mitt Romney supports those subsidies yet he doesn’t support helping wind energy grow as an energy source here in Colorado.”
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, D-El Dorado Springs, has made a dozen speeches on the Senate floor encouraging the passage of the wind tax credit, but to no avail.
“Letting the wind PTC lapse would be irresponsible,” Udall said Monday. “The PTC is the basis for good-paying, renewable energy jobs here at home. Not renewing the PTC would effectively out-source these jobs to China and our competitors abroad. We need to reauthorize the PTC ASAP.
“I reject the idea that we should give up on this critical component of our energy independence and American manufacturing, which supports thousands of middle-class families.”
On Wednesday, Romney’s campaign issued a longer statement to FOX31 Denver expanding on its position, noting President Obama’s thus far unfulfilled 2008 promise that investments in clean energy would create 5 million jobs
“President Obama’s promise to ‘easily’ create 5 million green energy jobs has become a particularly depressing punchline amidst the endless disappointments of the last four years,” said Ciara Matthews, Romney’s Colorado spokeswoman.
“The President spent $90 billion in taxpayer stimulus dollars, some of which went to his donors and political allies or was sent to create jobs overseas instead of here in America. Now we have American wind and solar energy sectors that combine to produce only one percent of our energy – and our wind industry has actually lost 10,000 jobs.
“The President may believe that his economic plan ‘worked’ and that America wants to repeat the experience for another four years, but the facts don’t back that up. Mitt Romney believes it is a time for a new approach to ensure our nation’s energy independence.”