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Romney Scores by Attacking Obama’s Two Favorite Things

2:50 PM, Oct 4, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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But Romney didn’t merely score when attacking Obamacare.  He also went after Obama’s other pet item:  “green energy” crony capitalism. Obama’s apparent obsession with fast trains and slow, expensive cars has been noted, as has his opposition to oil derricks and his fondness for ugly expanses of giant windmills (which often prove fatal to one of our most prominent national symbols).  In fact, during this very debate, Obama invoked Lincoln — but not as the man who saved the union, or as the man who freed the slaves, or as the man who so thoroughly understood the Founding and adhered to its principles.  Rather, he invoked him (once again) as the man who “said, let’s help to finance the Transcontinental Railroad.” 

Obama, however, did not appear to be prepared for Romney’s rejoinder after Obama accused Romney of favoring tax breaks for oil companies.  Romney replied, “[T]he Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year.  And it’s actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that’s been in place for a hundred years.  Now….”

Obama interrupted and said, “It’s time to end it.”

Looking directly at Obama, Romney continued, “and in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives, and you say Exxon and Mobil — actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.  But you know, if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why...that $2.8 billion is on the table….That’s probably not going to survive, [if] you get that rate down to 25 percent.

“But — but don’t forget, you put $90 billion — like 50 years’ worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to — to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1.  I mean, I — I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers.  All right?  So — so this is not — this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure.”

This was cleverly done, all the way down to quoting a friend to soften the money line just the right amount.  But Obama appeared to like it even less when Romney returned to this topic later in the debate.  In response to a rambling Obama answer to a question about the proper role of government — during which the president talked about education, job training, and “making college affordable,” before saying that “budgets reflect choices” — Romney issued the following reply, while Obama stared at the podium and looked to be practically seething,

“But you make a very good point, which is that the — the place you put your money makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is.  You put $90 billion into — into green jobs.  And — and I — look, I’m all in favor of green energy.  Ninety billion — that...that would have hired 2 million teachers.  Ninety billion dollars.  And these businesses — many of them have gone out of business.  I think about half of them, of the ones [that] have been invested in, they’ve gone out of business.  A number of them happened to be owned…by people who were contributors to your campaigns.”

Immediately thereafter, he tied Obamacare back in:

“Look, the right course for — for America’s government — we were talking about the role of government — is not to become the economic player picking winners and losers, telling people what kind of health treatment they can receive, taking over the health care system that — that has existed in this country for — for a long, long time and has produced the best health records in the world.  The right answer for government is to say, how do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective?”

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