During Wednesday night's presidential debate, GOP candidate Mitt Romney called Tesla Motors a "loser" company, lumping it in with bankrupt solar power company Solyndra, financially troubled green auto-maker Fisker Automotive and green car battery producer Ener1.
Co-established by billionaire PayPal and SpaceX co-founder Elon Musk, the thriving Tesla manufactures and sells electric vehicles, the most well-known being its luxury sports models. Writes Slate of the company, "In nine years, the startup has gone from a twinkle in Elon Musk's eye to taking over 13,000 orders for the Model S, a luxury sedan that has drawn raves from just about everyone lucky enough to test-drive it. I am one of them. Mitt Romney, clearly, is not."
But you'd never know that to hear Romney tell it.
"[D]on’t forget," Romney addressed his debate audience, "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."
Twitter was all aflutter during the debate (10 million tweets were posted between the opening and closing, a record for any U.S. political event), and users were quick to react to Romney's allegations of Tesla's failure. Some responded with disbelief, some with confusion, others with anger. Elon Musk himself announced on the company's blog that Tesla Motors plans to become cash flow positive by the end of next month, and plans to start repaying its loans to the Department of Energy at around the same time -- six months earlier than projected; he also took a dig at Mitt Romney's "job creation" talking points, commenting that Tesla has created "over 3500 high quality jobs."
Take a look at our collection of tweets (below) to see some of the best reactions to Romney's allegation about Tesla.