Republicans are framing the Obama administration loan to now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra as an example of the president’s misunderstanding of how to get the economy going, in the wake of the release of emails that the GOP says reveal the White House failed to fully vet the loan and indicate inappropriate favors to top White House donors.
Colorado GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, slammed Obama for failing to answer questions surrounding the loan, charging the president with “crony capitalism,” a frequent Republican refrain on Solyndra.
“[The loan to Solyndra was] a spectacular example of crony capitalism and government failure at the top levels of the White House,” he said.
The emails, released last week, were part of a lengthy probe conducted by House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans into the process behind the $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee awarded to the solar-panel maker. While the investigation unearthed information that’s politically embarrassing to the White House, it never substantiated frequent Republican allegations that aid to Solyndra was some kind of reward or quid pro quo for a major Obama campaign bundler who invested in the company.
But Republicans believe the issue could remain a potent one, as they aim to frame Solyndra as indicative of a wider failure on the part of the Obama administration to understand how to jump-start the economy.
“Solyndra’s really the ultimate symbol of the president’s economic failures,” Gardner said.
Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney will campaign in Colorado this week, yet another stop for the candidates in a key swing state that could play a pivotal role in the November election. The most recent poll out of Colorado, released by Purple Insights in July, puts them neck-and-neck in the state, 45 percent for Obama to 44 percent support for Romney, with 11 percent of voters still unsure just a little over three months out from the election. Other polls have showed Obama with a slightly larger lead in the state, but a repeat of his 2008 win there is far from assured — a fact that Gardner says indicates how far the president has fallen with Coloradans.
“I think that shows that the president’s Rocky Mountain high has become a Rocky Mountain low. I believe by the time November gets here this will be Mitt Romney territory,” he said.