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Romney Decides That Thriving Electric-Car Startup Tesla Is a “Loser”

In one of the sharper lines of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney jabbed President Obama over his green-jobs investments, saying, “You don’t just pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers.”

Burn! But what losers was Romney referring to, specifically? Here’s the full quote:

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

For anyone drinking along at home, the Solyndra reference was cause to pound one back. Republican politicians, Romney included, never tire of trotting out the failed Silicon Valley solar-energy startup as a symbol of all that is wrong with Obama’s America. But here Romney indicated that Solyndra is just one example of the folly of industrial policy. There’s also Ener1, a Department of Energy grant* recipient that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

And there’s Fisker Automotive, an electric-car startup which—well, actually Fisker is a going concern. In fact, it has just raised a new round of private financing and is gearing up to launch its second car, a 300-horsepower plug-in hybrid coupe called the Atlantic. But its first effort, the Karma, was hampered by recalls and reliability problems, and the Department of Energy cut off funding. So we’ll give Romney a pass on that one, even though the company has not cost the government any money and may still have a bright future.

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