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Posted by on Jun 2, 2012 in Business, Politics | 3 comments

Solyndra Backfires; Robme Injured

The US government poured money into a failed solar energy business and Mitt Romney hoped he could raise the issue from the dead and blame Obama for the failure. Of course, the US government invests seed money — or guarantees loans — for business start-ups whose success would solve a problem and benefit all of us, not least with job opportunities. The government does this often, but not with the belief that every single penny of seed money will put out roots. Ultimately, Solyndra failed. Obama was blamed for spending half a billion’s worth of government money on a failed company.

Solyndra declared bankruptcy in August 2011 after having received $528 million in federal loan guarantees, and its fate has been seized on by Republicans as symptomatic of big government waste in the stimulus program and the futility of clean energy subsidies.

Mr. Romney accused the president of steering taxpayer dollars to his friends and “cronies,” and of stifling free market competition by picking economic winners and losers. …Caucus, NYT

Romney staged a campaign event in front of the Solyndra factory yesterday even as most cameras were clicking on George W. Bush at the White House. By the end of the day, the Romney campaign’s effort to pin Solyndra on President Obama had kind of backfired. It gave the Obama campaign the opportunity, once again, to put the spotlight on Romney’s poor economic record as governor of Massachusetts.

Oops.

“The reality is that Solyndra received funding through a Department of Energy program created under the Bush administration – a program that has supported tens of thousands of jobs across the country and is moving forward with investments in innovative projects like the first nuclear plant built in the U.S. in decades and the world’s largest wind farm,” said Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, in a statement. “In fact, both Republican and Democratic administrations advanced Solyndra’s application, and the company was widely praised as successful and innovative both before and after receiving the Department of Energy loan guarantee.

Ms. Smith added, “As governor, Mitt Romney’s record was one of dismal job creation, outsourcing, increased spending and the highest per capita debt in the nation. Now, he’d cede the clean energy industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that come with it to China in order to please his Big Oil campaign donors, including keeping massive tax cuts for the oil industry on the middle class’s dime. Massachusetts couldn’t afford Romney Economics, and America can’t either.” …Caucus, NYT

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NPR added up Governor Romney’s week in the headlines. Or weak in the headlines, maybe…

“Trump, Romney’s surrogate, goes on ‘birther’ offensive” — The Hill

“Trump overshadows Romney with ‘birther’ talk” — Bloomberg Businessweek

“Romney appears with ‘birther’ Trump” — UPI.com

“Obama campaign goes after Romney for Trump connection; should Romney speak out against birther issue?” — Fox

There was this, “Romney Campaigns at Failed Solyndra Factory,” in the New York Times politics blog, and similar headlines elsewhere Thursday.

But there was also this: “Romney’s Solyndra Show=Poor Political Theater” on Bay Area’s NBC station’s website, which detailed the secrecy surrounding the Solyndra events, and its timing — starting at the moment former President George W. Bush began to speak at the portrait unveiling.

“Opinion,” it read: “A campaign trump card may have been misplayed.” …NPR

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Andrew Sullivan finishes Romney off with this quote from the Boston Herald (a right-leaning, not to say servile Boston paper):

When Romney was governor, the state handed out $4.5 million in loans to two firms run by his campaign donors that have since defaulted, leaving taxpayers holding the bag.

The two companies — Acusphere and Spherics Inc. — stiffed the state on nearly $2.1 million in loans provided through the state’s Emerging Technology Fund, a $25 million investment program created while Romney was governor in 2003 that benefitted 13 local firms.

Acusphere, a biotechnology firm headed by a Romney campaign donor, got $2 million in 2004 that it was supposed to put toward a $20 million manufacturing facility in Tewksbury, which never became fully operational…

The loans were approved by a seven-person advisory board that included two Romney appointees and three Romney campaign contributors, a Herald review found.

Is Romney deliberately, for some unfathomable reason, deliberately setting himself up? Either that or he’s really, really stupid.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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