Green jobs, Fisker, creep into the VP debates

The Vice Presidential debates on Thursday night will be remembered for many things — “malarkey,” Joe Biden’s toothy grins, the no holds barred moderator — but it won’t be recalled as a indepth discussion of energy, clean technology and climate change. However, not surprisingly Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan raised a brief argument about “green pork,” and referred to taxpayer dollars going to making “electric cars in Finland,” and “windmills in China.”

Ryan started it off with:

Look at just the $90 billion in stimulus. The vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups. There are just at the Department of Energy over 100 criminal investigations that have been launched into just how stimulus…

Biden responded with:

His colleague. . . runs an investigative committee, spent months and months and months going into this. . . .Months and months. They found no evidence of cronyism.

Biden shoots back by bringing up letters that Ryan wrote asking for stimulus funds for Wisconsin energy efficiency projects:

I’m not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, “By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?” We sent millions of dollars. You know. . .

Ryan admits as much:

On two occasions we – we – we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are…

Biden’s response:

I love that. I love that. This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying – writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, “The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs.” His words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me.

And by the way, that program, again, investigated. What the Congress said was it was a model. Less than four-tenths of 1 percent waste or fraud in the program.

And all this talk about cronyism. They investigated and investigated, did not find one single piece of evidence. I wish he would just tell – be a little more candid.

And Ryan’s final jab at green jobs before the moderator changes the subject:

Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?

The electric car that Ryan is talking about is Fisker Automotive, which may or may not have been a good investment for the DOE to make, but which used some of the funds to manufacture its first car in Finland, and design its second car, which is supposed to be built in the U.S. A big chunk of the DOE loan was actually blocked, because Fisker didn’t meet its milestones with its first car, and was forced to raised private funds to replace that lost loan.

Fisker made it into both the first Presidential and the Vice Presidential debates!

Image courtesy of richiec.