Hillary Clinton ignored questions about her promise to eliminate coal jobs Tuesday at a rope line in North Carolina.
"Secretary Clinton, why did you say you would destroy coal jobs?" the questioner asked twice, while Clinton smiled and greeted other people in line.
Clinton pledged that she would destroy jobs for coal miners Monday at the CNN Democratic town hall.
"We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business," Clinton said in response to a question about whether she could win the general election vote in states that tended Republican.
Clinton also lauded the necessity of bringing about "economic opportunity" through "clean renewable energy" in coal country and lamented the health effects of working in coalmines.
"Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories," Clinton said. "Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on."
Those close to Clinton have defended her statement by saying that she wasn’t clear.
"She wasn’t very clear about how she said that. She actually has a plan to help coal miners and their communities transition to clean energy," said Kristina Schake, deputy communications director for Hillary for America. "She didn’t say it gracefully."
Coal-producing states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia have yet to cast their primary votes. Ohio votes Tuesday.