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Clinton letter to Manchin: I was mistaken in coal remarks

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses as she speaks during an election night event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Hillary Clinton says in a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin that she was mistaken in her remarks on national television that she was going “to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Clinton made the comments Sunday on CNN when asked how her policies would benefit poor white people in Southern states who generally vote Republican. She answered by touting her plan released last year to put $30 billion toward protecting the health benefits of coal miners and their families.

“I’m the only candidate, which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity, using clean renewable energy as the key, into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said Sunday. “We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people.”

Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, responded by suggesting that Clinton didn’t care about coal miners.

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who has endorsed Clinton, was extremely upset with her comments and followed up directly with Clinton, her senior advisers and President Bill Clinton, said Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott.

In her letter dated Tuesday, the Democratic presidential candidate mentions the “depth of my commitment to our coalfield workers, families and communities.” She also discusses her plans to revitalize coal communities and bring jobs to Appalachia, especially in carbon capture technology.

“Simply put, I was mistaken in my remarks,” Clinton wrote in her letter to Manchin. “I wanted to make the point that, as you know too well, while coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the U.S. and around the world, we have already seen a long-term decline in American coal jobs and a recent wave of bankruptcies as a result of a changing energy market — and we need to do more to support the workers and families facing these challenges.”

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