Is Romney anti-Tesla?

Is Romney anti-Tesla?

In tonight's debate (10/22/23) Romney said the Government investing in Tesla, amongst a few other companies, is not a good way to create American jobs. Is he anti-Tesla? And should we worry about losing the EV tax credit for 2013 and beyond if he is elected? I am not trying to flame or campaign, just trying to get a clear understanding on what a Romney administration might mean to Tesla.

Mark2131@CA-US | October 22, 2012

Seems like he is "willfully misinformed"... Sad.

noel.smyth | October 22, 2012

I do think the EC credit goes away sometime in 2013 in a romney administration. his backers paid alot for that.

ColonyGolfer | October 22, 2012

I think I need to give Mitt a ride in my Model S and give him a little jolt! Is Obama ever going to say that the $$$$ is not an investment, but a loan?

BYT | October 22, 2012

Misinformed or heavily funded by special interests in Detroit (he was a Michigan senator after all) or big oil is also pulling his strings. For the record, some Dems are also on the take so nobody is safe!

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

Yes. He mentions Tesla and Fisker in the same breath as a bad government investment. Same as the most uninformed people who berate Tesla owners.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

See, if Obama had been reading these forums, he'd know how to respond when someone made a negative comment about Tesla. Any of us could have torn Mitt a new one on that question.

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

It is a LOAN, dude, and Ford got 12 times more from the same program!

Bleeds On | October 22, 2012

I see what he's saying that the government shouldn't be picking winners, but by targeting Tesla and Fisker he seems to imply that EVs are a failure. That to me says a lack of education on these companies and that's disappointing. As such, his language seems to say, IMO, that killing the credit would be on his radar since he doesn't believe in electric mobility. However, this credit has been around for a long time and I doubt he'd rock the apple cart right away, if at all. This mentality of embracing the elephant in the room is where I stand in stark contrast from the GOP. It's horribly frustrating to hear for decades that we're going to kill the addiction to oil yet nothing of meaning ever gets done. I'm taking my vote into my own hands and voting Tesla.

BYT | October 22, 2012

It's that same lame argument as cutting funding to PBS! Because a couple million will save us all apparently?

bob | October 22, 2012

Romney would prefer to send Tesla to China where the tech would enhance his investments. He like most luddites prefer the never faulty God inspired "free market" to solve all our problems discounting the enourmous investments made this government for the "common welfare" of this nations citizens. A small list.
Just after the revolution Congress passed laws to encourage manufacturing in New England.

The TVA to bring power to farmers and rural areas in the south. Hoover dam and others for flood control and irrigation.

Darpa for advanced research benifiting military and industrial concerns (including with Al Gores help : ) the internet itsef, a socialist collective enterprise if ever there was one.

Medical Research paid for by the taxpayer but the patents given to pharma (now there is welfare I can get behind.)

The infrastructure that makes all this possible.
Comrade Bob

reitmanr | October 22, 2012

Wow! He again mixed success and failure. I was so surprised after him getting such criticism the last time he lumped success and failure and indicating investing in technology was a bad idea. Not a good indicator in general and certainly not for future actions supporting Tesla, their owners, and advanced automotive technology. How this plays out is yet to be seen. Hopefully Tesla will just be successful regardless of the government. A great product and a great business plan should do the trick.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


And don't forget a great CEO. | October 22, 2012

You know Mitt's anti-Tesla comments are about the only consistent position he has held in his political life...

reitmanr | October 22, 2012

Thanks..Elon Included!

Velo1 | October 22, 2012

It frustrates me to hear uninformed campaign rhetoric like this, which gives the lay person a misrepresentation of Tesla. This might be a good time for Tesla to launch some marketing ads touting their progress and soon to be huge success.

reitmanr | October 22, 2012

Oops! blew your "name"

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


Nothing touts success like results. More Model Ses on the road is the best marketing they can get right now, IMO.

Velo1 | October 22, 2012

Agree, can't wait to see my first Model S in the Colorado wild.

BYT | October 22, 2012

Yeah, at some point you just need to put up or shut up!

Captain_Zap | October 22, 2012

I guess my educational phone call to his campaign headquarters didn't help Romney.

It looks like he brought up Tesla to gain Detroit votes since it was used in that context.

Still, our President shouldn't disrespect our own businesses for political gain.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I'd be thrilled to see one in the wild. But on the other, I want to be the first kid on the block with a Model S!

teslarino | October 22, 2012

Whatever his position was, wait five minutes and it will change.

STEVEZ | October 22, 2012

I missed Romney's Tesla comment; was only listening with half my attention.

@velo1: What can we do to improve your chances of seeing a Model S in the wild? I'm out and about in mine around the north Denver exurbs most days. ;-)

gagliardilou | October 22, 2012

Its not that Romney does not like Tesla or is against Tesla. His point is Government should back research and not individual companies.

Jhall118 | October 22, 2012

Pretty sure congress has to overturn it right?

Velo1 | October 22, 2012

SteveZ, come up to Evergreen, Bergen Pek area. How well does the regen braking work going down I-70 from Genessee Park: 6 miles almost straight down hill?

Mtlord | October 22, 2012

I don't get this argument. What does a VC do? They invest in a bunch of companies, knowing many will fail, but the others will be wildly successful. The 10-20% that are successful make up for the rest, and make entire investment worthwhile. More than worthwhile. So Solyndra failed. Maybe Fisker. Does this mean that we shouldn't invest? A company like Tesla could be a game changer. Totally disruptive in the marketplace. But really, individual companies are irrelevant. The Obama campaign needs to use the VC argument and fight the ignorance.

JoeFee | October 22, 2012

Obama should educate Mitt on Tesla … the President missed a big opportunity here.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

Realistically, I seriously doubt Obama knows the difference between Fisker/Solyndra/Tesla either.

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

My facebook blew up on this comment, one of my friends posted "Have you driven a Tesla Governor Romney?" and I thought Obama hit him with that line in the debate, I was disappointed to learn that Obama just let it slide.

Tâm | October 22, 2012

Romney opposed the auto bailout but made $15 million off taxpayer dollars

OCTOBER 19, 2012

Mitt Romney cashed in on the auto bailout he opposed and his investment helped send 100,000 jobs to China

An exposé published Thursday by Greg Palast in "The Nation" reveals that despite Mitt Romney’s public opposition to the auto industry bailout, he and wife Anne Romney managed to make at least $15.3 million off the taxpayer dollars invested to save the industry. And in typical Romney fashion, his investment helped ship former Delphi Automotive jobs to China.

What is worse is that many of Romney’s campaign contributors cashed in as well. In fact a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, including the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than a 3,000% return.

He talks about the 47% who are “takers” leeching off the taxpayers. It takes one to know one.

In late 2008, the Bush Administration made loans to save the auto industry that was on the brink of going under. Early in the Obama Administration, additional loans and investments were made to Chrysler and General Motors to keep them from going out of business. At the time, Mitt Romney wrote an editorial saying “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

Delphi Automotive, formerly the Delco Division of General Motors, makes auto parts for GM’s production lines. No bailout of GM or Chrysler could have been successful without also saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi, which at that time were controlled by Wall Street hedge funds.

According to "The Nation" article, one of the hedge funds that have profited $1.28 billion from that Delphi bailout is Elliott Management directed by 
Paul Singer. According to The Wall Street Journal, Singer has given more to support GOP candidates—$2.3 million—than anyone else on Wall Street this election. He and his colleagues at Elliott have collectively donated $3.4 million to help elect Republicans this season.

Singer has a great deal of influence over Mitt Romney serving not only an informal adviser but, according to the Wall Street Journal, his support was critical in helping push Representative Paul Ryan onto the ticket.

Ann Romney’s so-called blind trust invested at least $1 million in Elliott before the fund began buying Delphi at vulture prices for about 20 cents on the dollar. When the hedge fund managers were told that they should save as many American jobs as they should, they refused and forced a judge to hold an auction for the company’s stock. Elliott eventually took over the entire company for 67 cents a share. Two years later Delphi shares were selling at $22 each, an astounding profit even for Mitt Romney.

How did Delphi undergo such a remarkable turnaround? They took federal bailout funds, slashed worker pensions, fired union workers and sent American jobs overseas, and got the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to pay all of Delphi’s retiree pensions. The cost to the taxpayer for the pension piece alone was $5.6 billion. This is on top of the other taxpayer money they took. Is this not corporate welfare?

Of the twenty-nine Delphi plants operating in the United States when the vultures began buying up control, only four remain, with not a single union production worker. Delphi now produces the parts used by GM and other major automakers mostly in China. Delphi is now incorporated overseas, leaving the company with 5,000 employees in the United States and almost 100,000 abroad.

Romney says “Elect me because I know how to create jobs.” Romney and his partners were successful in creating 100,000 jobs alright--in China; and they used tax payer money and favorable tax laws to do so. In the debate, Romney said that as a businessman he never heard of any inventive for a company to ship jobs overseas. Wow!
Without billions in taxpayer funds and slashing worker pensions, the hedge funds’ investment in Delphi would not have been worth a single dollar, according to calculations by GM and the US Treasury.

Now Mitt Romney goes to Ohio and other Delphi locations and attacks Obama for “using the Stimulus to “ship jobs to China.” What is worse, taking taxpayer money and using it to ship jobs to China, or lying about it for political gain? Is this the economic model we want for America—the rich get richer and the middle class taxpayer pays?

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


Must we pollute the Tesla forums with open campaigning?

Captain_Zap | October 22, 2012

Here's that segment of the transcript:

"OBAMA: Governor, the people in Detroit don't forget.


ROMNEY: ...and -- and that's why I have the kind of commitment to ensure that our industries in this country can compete and be successful. We in this country can -- can compete successfully with anyone in the world, and we're going to. We're going to have to have a president, however, that doesn't think that somehow the government investing in -- in car companies like Tesla and -- and Fisker, making electric battery cars. This is not research, Mr President, these are the government investing in companies. Investing in Solyndra. This is a company, this isn't basic research. I -- I want to invest in research. Research is great. Providing funding to universities and think tanks is great. But investing in companies? Absolutely not.


OBAMA: Governor?

ROMNEY: That's the wrong way to go.


OBAMA: The fact of the matter is...


ROMNEY: I'm still speaking. So I want to make sure that we make -- we make America more competitive.

OBAMA: Yeah.

ROMNEY: And that we do those things that make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses to grow. But you're investing in companies doesn't do that. In fact it makes it less likely for them to come here...

OBAMA: Governor?

ROMNEY: ...because the private sector's not going to invest in a...


OBAMA: I'm -- I'm -- I'm happy."

So it sounds like Romney believes that taking helping out US industry makes others less likely to come here. Hmmmm...

petero | October 22, 2012

I apologize mrsphaget but this tidbit is too good to pass up...mea kulpa!!!

How smart can Mitt Romney be? You may not believe this, I know I didn’t, so I re-read it. Romney’s decision to leave Bain Capital to pursue elected office came at a steep price. It cost him $ 1.77 BILLION. Romney is still well off, with a net worth estimated at $230 million.

Forbes Magazine,October 22, Page 88.

petero | October 22, 2012

correction, mea culpa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sagebrushnw | October 22, 2012


"Misinformed or heavily funded by special interests in Detroit (he was a Michigan senator after all)..."

Michigan senator? Nope, not even close.

He was governor of Massachusetts for four years. Yes, Romney was born in Detroit, his father was head of AMC for a number of years and also served as governor of Michigan...also ran for the presidency back in the 60's.

BYT | October 22, 2012

I stand corrected

stevenmaifert | October 22, 2012

I don't think Romney has a hard spot for Tesla. His point is the Federal government shouldn't be underwriting the venture capital business with taxpayer dollars, no matter how noble the enterprise. Just wish he would make the same argument with the auto industry bailouts. There are billions there that will never be repaid, making these green company failures small potatoes by comparison.

DennisM | October 22, 2012

Sadly, Romney is smarter than this - but he's content to play an ignorant, right-wing tool to appease the Tea Party base. A man of no conviction. Unlike Elon Musk and those of us believing in a better way forward. That should tell you everything you need to know about this election.

TikiMan | October 22, 2012

I am just curious what 'other' things Romney plans to cut in his 5 point plan to decrease massive US debt ..

1) NFL and Sports Arenas (tax exempt)
2) Organized Religion (tax exempt)
3) Corp Farming (subsidized, including massive tax exemptions)
4) Oil Companies (subsidized, including massive tax exemptions)

The list is a LOT longer, however, I am curious if Romney plans to eliminate the tax subsidies / exemption status of these wealthy, and completely unnessassary organizations and corps. Because if he does, I might vote for him. Otherwise, if he has no plans to do such, he is just a hypocrite. 

modelsboy | October 22, 2012

Governor Romney, you attacked my favorite car company and the one that shows the world how the future of cars should be just out of pure political rhetoric and without any factual backing . You will not have my vote

DouglasR | October 22, 2012

Giving away public money, resources, and services to private companies is the American Way. Think about all the land granted to the railroads. Think about mining concessions, mineral leases, grazing privileges, timber concessions, farm subsidies, and on and on. And what about tax breaks such as the investment tax credit, capital gains rate, accelerated depreciation, oil depletion allowances, etc. And how about government contracting, which provides subsidies to all manner of businesses. No, the benefits granted by the Bush and Obama administrations to Tesla Motors were small potatoes, but they were as American as apple pie.

astraussmd | October 22, 2012

The US goverment has always invested in the future > the overall return on federally-supported research (often via government-private partnerships) has yielded $$ billions to many different industries. Non-green industries like oil/gas/ethanol continue to receive taxpayor subsidies, mostly as a result of political lobbying influence. Solyndra went bankrupt because we failed to protect innovations in the US solar industry movement - Chinese subsidies won out. The overall failure rate of the Bush-Obama clean energy loan guarantee program has been 8% > most consider it a success. Tesla technology is an emerging success story - soon to be mainstreamed as more affordable models are produced. Climate change is real and a threat to our national security in the long run (Pentagon risk assessments were recently updated) > China is moving toward an electric auto industry - so should we. We should be applauding Tesla - not denigrating innovation exemplified in the Model S.
Governor Jerry Brown understands what's going on here in California, thank goodness.

jbunn | October 23, 2012

What I am concerned about is painting the industry with a broad brush. This Tesla/Solyndra talk seemes very much aimed at creating the perception that all these new technologies are folly. I don't really care what Romney thinks. What I care about is when you have 10 or 15 million viewers and you start trying to create that preception in the public's mind.

Romney has a similar story with a company he backed while governor that is a counterpoint to Solyndra. So he says what's convienent at the time and for the audience.

VC's love to have federal backing, loan guarentees, pension bailouts and the like. Just as long as it's their pet projects.

evanstumpges | October 23, 2012

I think Mitt needs to test drive a Model S and then reevaluate his thoughts.

Sad to see him speaking negatively on one of the most innovative new companies in America, with an amazing CEO, that is revolutionizing the auto industry with electric vehicle technology that is a glimpse of the future...

The way ahead is forward, not backward and clean energy tech, not coal and oil.

mrspaghetti | October 23, 2012


I doubt that 'creating' a perception about an industry is on anyone's mind at a debate 2 weeks prior to the election. Whatever is said is calculated to play to perceptions that already exist. And I think Romney's right about the perception of the general public on the subject of 'green' technology at the moment. Obviously this board is not representative of the voting public at large.

David M. | October 23, 2012

Fortunately, this whole election thing will be over in 14 days. Then we can focus back on Tesla Motors and innovation within the automotive industry.

I'm glad Obama didn't take the bait (this time or last time), when the Tesla remark came up. Not enough time (in that forum) to explain to the general public what's going on. Any answer would have been rushed and incomplete.

All I know is that:
1. Gov't loans to foster alternative (cleaner) fuels makes sense.
2. You're not picking and choosing companies when any company involved with alternative fuels could have applied for those loans.
3. The $7,500 tax rebate for EVs seems reasonable, when you consider that we've also offered incentives for hybrids, and we're still offering preferred tax treatment for folks buying heavy SUVs.

Mark Z | October 23, 2012

Mitt mentioned the two electric car companies that have the fastest performance and are or going to be building vehicles here in the USA. You can't buy advertisement like this. The entire world now has Fisker and Tesla on their mind when they think of electric cars.

Mitt loves electric cars, just not the federal money given directly to the companies even in the form of a loan. He wants the free enterprise system of investors, banking and the stock market to provide the funding and if the companies can produce a product that the public wants and can afford, then they should be successful.

I've had people take pictures of the Mitt sticker and Tesla license plate frame on my current gas car. I hope Model S arrives in time to put a Mitt sticker on the lower left corner of the rear hatch window before the election. Tesla and Fisker will enjoy future success as the economy improves and more people have the money to purchase these great cars.

sbern18 | October 23, 2012

Right on comrade bob! Romney's looking for Detroit and NASCAR votes. Just wait till an ev wins a NASCAR race then he'll change his tune lol!

Tiebreaker | October 23, 2012

@Mark Z:

Mitt is slamming the 2 car companies, appeasing the folks like the one from the "negative public reactions" thread. This is indeed a negative advertisement: the vast majority of the debate viewers will remember "Tesla.... Soyndra... Failure... My money!".

It is not like the guvmint knocked on Tesla's door offering money, choosing and picking. They had a loan program opened to anybody to apply and qualifiy. Tesla applied and qualified, so did many other companies. Nissan $1.6B, Ford $5.9B!!! Ford applied for $11B loan, but oh only got $5.9B. That is 12.5 times Tesla's loan.

Why Mitt did not mention Ford?