During Wednesday night’s president debate, Mitt Romney claimed that “half” of the green firms Obama invested “have gone out of business” and noted that “a number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.”
Fact checkers — including this blog — quickly pounced on the claim, explaining that only a tiny percentage of firms that received grants or loans from the Recovery Act have actually filed for bankruptcy. And now, the Romney campaign itself is walking back the GOP presidential candidate’s claim. From Michael Grunwald, author of The New New Deal: The Hidden History of Change in the Obama Era:
ICYMI: Romney camp told me (after my tweet-rants) Mitt didn’t mean to say half the #stimulus-funded green firms failed. Probably <1% so far.
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) October 4, 2012
Grunwald estimates that less than 1 percent of green firms have gone bad in terms of dollar value.
Romney also singled out Tesla Motors, which designs and manufactures electric vehicles, and received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy. Last night, he quipped, “I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?” But the company is not a loser. “Founder Elon Musk says it will accelerate its payment of the principal in the spring — and the Department of Energy isn’t complaining it’s not getting its money back.” Romney, unfortunately, has turned to rooting against an American company in his effort to unseat Obama.