In both presidential debates, Mitt Romney has struggled to defend his Big Oil-soaked energy policies. He's resorted to making up his own facts and misleading voters on where he stands on clean energy and President Obama's record on wind and solar. In reality, Romney's positions are a slap in the face to the more than 3 million Americans who work in green jobs all across this country.
In the first debate, Romney had the fact checkers working overtime. He came equipped with own facts and tried to hide the truth.
Romney claimed, "I think about half of [the green energy businesses the federal government has] invested in, have gone out of business." But Politico has noted Romney's claim is "not even close" and The New York Times said that Romney's claim was a "gross overstatement." The actual share of government-backed green companies that have gone under is around 1 percent.
Romney also claimed that President Obama "put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1." But as CNN noted, "not even half" of the $90 billion that was allocated has gone to green companies, and "not all that money has been spent."
Romney was also dead wrong on oil subsidies. He said that "the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year" and that "2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth." But nothing could be further from the truth. As The New York Times reported, the president's assertion that the industry receives $4 billion a year in special tax breaks "has not been disputed by industry." And a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis found that the five largest oil companies alone receive $2.4 billion -- or more than half -- of the $4 billion in subsidies that the president wants to eliminate.
At the town hall debate, Romney even tried to mislead voters about his own energy proposals. Romney said, "I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix." What he didn't say is that he wants to end government support for these renewable sources of energy. For example, Romney has come out in favor of letting the Production Tax Credit for wind energy expire, a move that the American Wind Energy Association estimates will cost 37,000 jobs nationwide.
When President Obama noted that Romney opposes the wind tax credit and says wind energy jobs are "imaginary," Romney replied, "I don't have a policy of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that -- they're not phantom jobs. They're real jobs." But the president is right; Romney has suggested green jobs are "illusory" and unbelievably declared that wind and solar power are not "real energy."
Romney tried everything during the debates to run away from his Big Oil agenda, even misstating his own positions and inventing his own facts. But Romney won't be able to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people, who know an extreme, backwards energy plan when they see it.