In an interesting nugget, Gomez reports that that footage is now part of an Obama ad airing exclusively in southeastern Ohio, a bit of coal country with swing-state status. He also gives Romney a chance to reply:

Romney stood by his criticisms Wednesday and suggested he would favor some clean-air regulations.

“You have regulations that make sure that coal-fired plants are using the most modern technology,” Romney said when asked how he would balance limiting emissions with preserving coal jobs. “But you don’t put in place regulations that are impossible to meet, such that you drive anyone out of business and you prevent any new plants from being built.”

The auto bailout section of the story mostly has Romney repeating things he’s said many times before. But The Plain Dealer puts his comments in context against both Romney’s infamous 2008 New York Times op-ed and a more recent piece:

Asked if private capital might have been available to the companies, Romney, who has a history in private equity, maintained that he “did not oppose government help to the companies, through the bankruptcy process, to get them back on their feet.” But in a February column for the Detroit News, he called the bailouts an “$85 billion sweetheart deal disguised as a rescue plan.”
In a Wednesday column, PD editorial writer Philip Morris put out a message to both Obama and Romney: “Specifics, gentlemen,” he wrote. “It’s important for Ohio voters to hear specifics from each of you about how you will create jobs, improve education, make our streets safer and give the middle class a brighter future.”

Neither of the candidates really met that challenge this week. But these interview stories, while they reflected the fact that the reporters’ time was limited, did decent jobs of covering complicated topics. With time running out, the hard questions have to be formulated and asked to try to make the candidates open up with more precise information.

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T.C. Brown covered government and politics in the Ohio Statehouse Bureau for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland for more than 17 years, and he has also written for other local, state and national publications. Brown is a founding partner in Webface, a social media communication company.