Caught between his increasingly carbon-conscious party and a major player in his home state, Barack Obama has backed off his support for converting coal into liquid vehicle fuel, the LA Times reports. Global warming is important to Democrats, but coal is important to the Illinois economy, and the senator's shift left industry leaders scratching their heads.
While acknowledging Obama's balancing act, a National Mining Association spokesman accused him of caving to an environmentalist "jihad." Obama was a leader of a bipartisan coalition that supported tax breaks for the coal industry, making the shift—which his staff termed a clarification—to a stance that includes a specific carbon-reduction goal all the more noteworthy. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)