I am a trusted user on Daily Kos and a lifelong DFL er from Minnesota. I read Jed's diary on Mitt's "cold fusion" comments with some trepidation. I suggest any serious students of the subject visit "Cold Fusion Times" website by Dr. Mitchell Swartz and/or read Pulitzer nominated "Fire from Ice" by the late Dr. Eugene Mallove out of MIT.
Mitt Romney is showing preppy loyalty in citing this area of science and is doing science and himself no favors getting into this mudfight..
In 1989, when Fleischman & Pons were forced by UU patent attorneys to came forward with a glorified lab report. I was working as a consultant with a team of European scientists out of London (Commercial Space Technologies LTD ). We were the chief open literature sources on the Russian Space Program and "Janes" technical consultants. Dr. Anders Hansson out of Sweden was coordinating the interface of the Russian and British space program. Two of our group had day jobs in Europe's hot fusion labs. I was 'the american friend. a political economist from the "Mars Underground". Also in the loop was NASA's space policy wonk Dr. Andrew Cutler (Editor of "Space Power" who in 1988 was Dukakis's advisor on Space Policy. We were tracking the press on this emerging science and soon concluded that the science was real, but in the judgement of most overseas observers would never be commercialized due to demogogic suppression.
Tracking the original cold fusion press boomlet and the furious response of the American Physics Establishment from 1989 on was the most demoralizing experience my 40+ years in American politics. By 1992 the leading Journal in the field "Fusion Technology" (University of Illinois, Dr. George Miley) had tracked over 392 valid replications of the original experiment, while the press campaign of the American Physics Society and Bush's DOE had driven the proponents of this science almost completely out of the American media, academia, and most importantly, the US patent office.
Counterplay came from Dr. Arthur C. Clarke out of Sri Lanka, Sen. Paul Wellstone and a host of other dissidents. Real science has been outgunned in this area by what Dr. Andy Cutler called "Occams Chainsaw Massacre"
It is important to note that the first published replication of the 1989 experiment came from the original proponent of the "Hydrogen Economy" at Texas A&M.
Also, on the advice of his R&D scientist the founder of Toyota gave Fleischman and Pons carte blanche support in the Toyota/IMRA lab in Nice France. As some have said "if that is being discredited, I'll take it".
The 1991 paper/replication by Dr. Richard Oriani of the University of Minnesota Department of Materials Science in "Fusion Technology" is well written and convincing. But then, I am partial to the U of M and spent a good deal of time in the good doctor's lab.
I share Jed's disgust with Romney's chatterings in this subject, but I feel we have done this area of science a disservice.