Coal, Hard Truths

After policy clashes, coal miners, wildcatters and refiners are fueling the campaign to deny Obama a second term

Kenji Aoki for TIME

Correction appended Sept. 28, 2012

Ohio coal miner Robert E. Murray, 72, is still wearing oversize steel-toe boots and a shirt that reads BOB over his heart when he mispronounces President Obama's name for the third time. Coming from one of the nation's top-producing coal executives, the heavy accent is no accident. "I say Bear-ick Obama because I never heard the word Barack before," he explains. "My wife keeps telling me, 'It's Barack.' O.K., Barack. It's Barack. To me, it's Bear-ick."

To the 1,600 coal miners Murray employs in Ohio, to the reporters he meets, to the Republican politicians he supports with...

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