GOP Blog

FACT CHECK: Obama’s Lame Attempt To Rewrite History On Solyndra

In an interview yesterday, Barack Obama tried to dodge responsibility for Solyndra and rewrite history by saying that the DOE program that gave the failed solar company its loan “was not our program, per se.” Obama’s attempt to excuse away the waste of half a billion dollars in taxpayer money and the loss of over 1,000 jobs flies in the face of reality, which is the program was stimulus created and funded and that he himself touted the company as an example of the stimulus funding the loan program.

OBAMA RHETORIC: In An Interview Yesterday Talking About Solyndra, Obama Says “But Understand: This Was Not Our Program, Per Se.” 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. Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries, it’s easy to raise money for startups, but if you want to take them to scale, oftentimes there’s a lot of risk involved, and what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was to help start up companies get to scale. And the understanding is is that some companies are not going to succeed, some companies will do very well — but the portfolio as a whole ends up supporting the kind of innovation that helps make America successful in this innovative 21st century economy.” (“The Obama Interview: U.S. Must Invest In Itself,” American Public Media’s Marketplace, 3/21/12)

REALITY: Solyndra Received It’s Loan Through The Department Of Energy’s “Section 1705 Program, Created In 2009 Economic Stimulus Law.”

  • “The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 Amended The Loan Guarantee Program’s Authorizing Legislation By Adding Section 1705 To EPAct.” (1705 Program, Loans Programs Office, U.S. Department Of Energy, Accessed 3/22/12)
  • “Solyndra Received Its Now-Infamous $500 Million-Plus Loan Guarantee Through DOE’s Section 1705 Program, Created In 2009 Economic Stimulus Law…” (Elana Schor and Hannah Northey, “Will Solyndra Scandal Spill Over To Scald Nuclear Loan Guarantees?,” Greenwire, 10/7/11)
  • Obama At Solyndra: “But Through The Recovery Act, This Company Received A Loan To Expand Its Operation.” OBAMA: “And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra.  Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot.  But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations.  This new factory is the result of those loans.” (President Obama, Remarks By The President On The Economy, Freemont, California, 5/26/10)

REALITY: Obama Visited Solyndra In May 2010 Saying “The True Engine Of Economic Growth Will Always Be Companies Like Solyndra.”

  • “Obama Visited Solyndra’s Factory In May 2010, Only Weeks After It Became Public That Independent Auditors Had Questioned Whether It Could Remain A ‘Going Concern.’” (Carol D. Leoning, Joe Stephens, and Alice Crites, “Obama’s Focus On Visiting Clean-Tech Compaines Raises Questions,” The Washington Post, 6/25/11)
  • Knowing Full Well That Solyndra Could Go “Belly Up,” Obama “Dismissed Concerns” And Visited The Company. “White House officials dismissed concerns about Solyndra LLC ahead of President Barack Obama’s May 2010 visit to the failed solar-panel maker, despite acknowledging that the company and other clean-energy ventures could go “belly-up” by the 2012 election, according to emails released by Democratic lawmakers.” (Deborah Solomon, “White House Brushed Off Solyndra Worries, Emails Show,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/3/11)
  • “Like Most Presidential Appearances, Obama’s May 2010 Stop At Solyndra’s Headquarters Was Closely Managed Political Theater.” “Like most presidential appearances, Obama’s May 2010 stop at Solyndra’s headquarters was closely managed political theater. Obama’s handlers had lengthy e-mail discussions about how solar panels should be displayed (from a robotic arm, it was decided). They cautioned the company’s chief executive against wearing a suit (he opted for an open-neck shirt and black slacks) and asked another executive to wear a hard hat and white smock. They instructed blue-collar employees to wear everyday work clothes, to preserve what they called ‘the construction-worker feel.’” (Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, “Solyndra: Politics Infused Obama Energy Programs,” The Washington Post, 12/25/11)