Interviewer: With all respect, it was kind of a gutsy move I think to come to a solar facility. Your administration has staked a lot on clean technology, green jobs. The biggest item most people know about that strategy is, of course, a company named Solyndra, which your administration gave loan guarantees to, that then went bankrupt and has been the subject of many investigations. Are you doing your “all of the above” strategy right if that’s what we have to show for it — Solyndra?
Obama: We are doing the “all of the above” strategy right. Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn’t compete. But understand:This was not our program, per se.
Er, the program got its funding from Obama’s stimulus bill, which his own economic team proposed before he even got into office in January 2009, and which he demanded Congress enact immediately. Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress at the time and refused to let Republicans rewrite any of the stimulus plan. When they asked to be included in the legislative effort, Obama told them, “I won.”
What else did Obama have to say about Solyndra? Here’s the President visiting Solyndra in May 2010, taking credit for the program that lost $527 million in taxpayer dollars. Note well what the White House’s own website says about Solyndra’s loan guarantees:
Today, President Obama visited Solyndra, Inc. in Fremont California – a solar panel manufacturer that is building a new facility (and creating new jobs) thanks to funding from the Recovery Act. So far, construction of the new facility has created over 3,000 construction-related jobs and the new factory could create up to 1,000 long-term new jobs. And this is just one of countless stories that together account for the up-to-2.8 million jobs the Recovery Act is responsible for by the CBO’s count.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand here’s the President’s own words on that occasion:
Government still has the responsibility to help create the conditions in which students can gain an education so they can work at Solyndra, and entrepreneurs can get financing so they can start a company, and new industries can take hold.
So that’s why, even as we cut taxes and provided emergency relief over the past year — we also invested in basic research, in broadband networks, in rebuilding roads and bridges, in health information technology, and in clean energy. Because not only would this spur hiring by businesses — it would create jobs in sectors with incredible potential to propel our economy for years, for decades to come. There is no better example than energy.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand here’s the Vice President announcing the loan approval in September 2009 and crediting Obama’s stimulus plan:
“This announcement today is part of the unprecedented investment this Administration is making in renewable energy and exactly what the Recovery Act is all about,” said Vice President Biden. “By investing in the infrastructure and technology of the future, we are not only creating jobs today, but laying the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st-century economy.”
Aaaaaaaaaaaand here’s the President himself in the 2010 State of the Union address talking about the investment his administration made in Solyndra, without actually saying their name:
Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -– (applause) — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.
All of these links, by the way, come from the White House itself, along with other references to Solyndra and the credit due the stimulus bill for creating all of the jobs at the company. It seems that Obama believes per se is Latin for “please don’t search our website.”
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!