By Ben Geman - 12/20/11 05:11 PM EST
From a transcript of his interview with Charlie Rose:
When the president says, "I'm going to ... put a half-billion dollars into my favorite solar energy company, Solyndra," let's pretend for a moment that it didn't go bankrupt. Let's just pretend it was successful. Here's what he doesn't understand. There are well over 100 different businesses, I'll bet, in this country that are trying to develop new solar technology. When he picks one that the government gets behind with $500 million, the investments in all the others disappear, because no one wants to compete with the government.
He kills solar energy by having the government play the role of venture capitalist. You either believe in free enterprise and freedom and the American system or you believe in the European government-dominated system, and that system is a failed system.
Solyndra went bankrupt in September of this year, and had struggled despite receiving a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009.
Republicans have seized on the company’s collapse to argue that the federal government should not “pick winners and losers” through loan guarantees.