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White House defends backing Solyndra loan

May 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- The White House Tuesday defended U.S. taxpayer investment in bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra after Mitt Romney's campaign derided it.

Romney -- the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who has drawn criticism from President Barack Obama for his bottom-line priorities that led to the demise of some companies while he headed Bain Capital -- said pumping millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees into Solyndra and other green energy start-ups was a waste of the public's money.

Romney's campaign released a Web video attacking the Obama administration's investments in Solyndra and three other renewable-energy firms that lost money and shed workers, The Washington Post reported.

"Obama is giving taxpayer money to big donors and then watching them lose it," the video's narrator says. "Good for them. Bad for us."

Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary, told reporters at his daily briefing that investing in technology firms that can develop clean energy and help wean the United States off imported oil is something Obama believes in.

"I would simply say what we've said all along, which is that this president is committed to the proposition that we will not cede the industries of the future to the Chinese or the Europeans or the Brazilians or the Indians, or any other nation on Earth," Carney said. "Clean tech industries will continue to grow. And some, apparently, in this country are willing to see those industries developed and the jobs created, those industries created in other countries than the United States."

Americans, Carney said, "broadly agree" with the need to develop cutting-edge technologies.

Asked to differentiate between bankruptcy of firms backed by federal loans and those that failed after being taken over by Bain Capital, Carney said "the president believes, as he's made clear, that a president's responsibility is not just to those who win, but those who -- for example, in a company where there have been layoffs or a company that's gone bankrupt, that we have to make sure that those folks have the means to find other employment, that they have the ability to train for other kinds of work."

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