Today, he walked it back a little.
Three of his lies Wednesday in Denver:
• Romney said: “About half of [the clean energy companies that] have been invested in [by the government] have gone out of business.”
Not even close. Most companies invested in are succeeding. A handful have failed. The default rate on the Department of Energy's $16.1 billion energy loan guarantee program, according to Bloomberg, is at worst, about 3.6 percent. But that is only if none of the guarantee could be recovered from the failed companies. Greg Kats, who worked at the Energy Department from 1994 to 2000, including five years as the department’s director of financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said the defaults might rise to as much as five percent, but “I do not see a scenario in which the default rate gets out of single digits.” Michael Grunwald, a Time reporter who wrote the book on the stimulus, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, said Team Romney has told him that the candidate misspoke and didn't mean to say "half." Uh-huh. Grunwald puts the default loss at from around one to two percent.
• Romney said: “In one year, you provided $90 billion in tax breaks to green energy.” He also laid this against $2.8 billion in breaks to the fossil fuel industry, the implication being that the Obama administration had provided 30 times as many breaks for green energy as oil and gas have received.
False. During Obama's entire term of office, not a single year, the government investment for public transit, energy-efficiency measures like better insulation for homeowners, demonstration projects (including for "clean coal"), renewable research and development projects, competitive prizes and similar projects have amounted to $90 billion. Some $5 billion went to clean up old nuclear power sites. Most of this spending did not come in the form of tax breaks.
Double Bottom Line Venture Capital reported that for the period 1918-2009, oil and gas received $446.9 billion in subsidies. The nuclear industry took in $185.7 billion from 1947 to 2009. Up until 2009, the renewable energy sector, excluding biofuels, had received $5.9 billion, DBL concluded.
• Romney said: “All of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land.”
A Congressional Research Service report, U.S. Crude Oil Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas, found that oil drilling on federal lands has risen under Obama when compared to 2007. As is often pointed out in these discussions, the industry that keeps demanding more access to public land is currently sitting on 7,000 approved drilling permits that it hasn’t begun exploring or developing.
Whether you call them Pants-on-Fire or Pinocchios or Flat-out Falsehoods, Romney operates no differently in the energy arena than when he's talking about anything else. If he's talking, he's lying.