Romney campaigns in front of shuttered Solyndra
Romney gets a twofer for this one; a brilliant way to highlight the failed energy and economic policies of the president while reminding voters where so much of the stimulus money ended up -- in the hands of Democratic party fundraisers.
It's a symbol not of success but of failure," he said. "It's also a symbol of a serious conflict of interest. An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family - to campaign contributors. This building, this half a billion dollar taxpayer investment, represents a serious conflict of interest on the part of the president and his team."
"It's also a symbol of how the president thinks about free enterprise," said Romney. "Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends."
"You look at this building behind us; this is not the kind of building that is built by private enterprise," he said. "This is the kind of enterprise - the kind of building - that's built with half a billion dollars of taxpayers money. It's not just the Taj Mahal of corporate headquarters. you probably also heard that inside there are showers that have LCD displays that tell what the temperatures are of the shower water. and the robots inside actually provide Disney music tunes."
Solyndra is the failed California-based solar technology company that received more than $500 million in federal stimulus money before it went bankrupt last year. It has since become a mantle of Romney's argument that Obama doesn't know how to run the economy.
Beginning in March 2011, ABC News, in partnership with iWatch News-The Center for Public Integrity, was first to report on simmering questions about the role political influence might have played in Solyndra's selection as the Obama administration's first loan-guarantee recipient. Federal auditors had flagged the loan, saying some applicants had benefited from special treatment.
Politico referred to Romney's visit (and Axelrod's foray into Massachusetts) as "the nastiest 24 hours of the campaign so far." This is nonsense. Romney's record as Bay State governor can't be highlighted? A failed crony capitalism energy boondoggle is off limits?
The only thing nasty is Politico's sense of fair play, as John Nolte points out. This is politics, not twiddly-winks. These two men are battling for the highest office in the land and Romney's use of imagery in going to the gates of shuttered Solyndra and railing against the president's unethical behavior and stupid policies is perfectly legitimate.
Let's hope that the Romney campaign can come up with similar coups in the coming months.
Thomas Lifson adds:
One of the most telling compliments Mitt's campaign is receiving is that his campaign is "not like McCain." Many conservatives are still nursing a grudge over the perceived pulling of punches in 2008. Mitt is allaying conservative fears of another campaign designed to lose. John Hinderaker of Powerline:
One of the most heartening aspects of the early stages of the presidential race has been the Romney campaign's aggressiveness. Nothing discourages activists more than getting out front of a candidate who, it later turns out, isn't willing to do what it takes to win. A number of Republicans of recent years could be said to fit that description, most recently John McCain. But not Mitt Romney.
It has always been obvious to me that Mitt plays to win. One doesn't accumulate a nine figure fortune in private capital without a drive to win. I suspect there will be more surprises ahead from the Romney campaign. Menawhile, Axelrod's got nothing new for Obama. Hope and change has gotten awfully threadbare in 4 years, and O can't run on his record.