Mitt Romney, who was criticized by the Democrats for his investment records at Bain Capital, fired back at the President by focusing on Obama’s record with solar energy start-up Solyndra, the president’s biggest staple in his clean energy initiative. The Republican presidential candidate pointed out the Solyndra went bankrupt as recent as last year after it received more than $500 million in federal loans, forcing more than 1,000 employees out of work.
In a speech at shuttered Solyndra headquarters, Romney made reference to it as a “symbol of a serious conflict of interest,” and a “symbol of how the president thinks about free enterprise.”
Romney went on to say, “It’s a symbol not of success but of failure,” he said. “It’s also a symbol of a serious conflict of interest.”
Federal auditors and congressional investigators continue to examine the role political infuences may have played in Solyndra’s selection as the president and his administration’s first loan-guarantee recipient. Federal auditors say there were in fact some applicants who benefited from special treatment.
“Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends,” Romney said.
The Democrats responded to the attacks by saying the company was of good report.
“Both Republican and Democratic adminstrations 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,” Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokesperson said.
The Democrats also blamed the president’s predecessor, saying the program was “created under the Bush administration.
The White House was also quick to point out that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney presided an award of $4.5 million in state loans to firms that went bankrupt. The Romney campaign responded by saying even though members of his advisory board approved the funding, Romney himself was opposed it.