Obama silent when Romney criticizes ‘green energy’ tax breaks

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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When energy issues came up during the first presidential debate Wednesday night, Mitt Romney was able to get in jabs about President Barack Obama’s favoritism to the “green energy world” — hitting on some of the Department of Energy loan guarantee programs biggest failures like Solyndra.

“And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world,” Romney said in a rebuttal to Obama’s criticism of oil companies receiving $4 billion dollars in tax breaks.

“But don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?” Romney said.

Later, when the debate topic switched to education, Romney jumped on the President’s record on supporting green energy again.

“You put $90 billion into — into green jobs. And I — look, I’m all in favor of green energy,” Romney said. “$90 billion, that would have — that would have hired 2 million teachers. $90 billion.”

“And these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business,” Romney added. “A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.”

The president never directly responded to any of the criticisms about his record on green energy tax breaks, nor did he defend any of the failed companies that received controversial Department of energy loan guarantees.

Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in August 2011 after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The year before, President Obama said “the true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”

Battery maker Ener1 got a $118.5 million stimulus grant from the Department of Energy, but in January 2012 they filed for bankruptcy.

Fisker Automotive got a $529 million DOE loan, but only got $193 million of the loan before the DOE cut them off, making the rest of the loan contingent on Fisker reaching its sale targets on its $103,000 gas-electric Karma.

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