Q Okay. So since you had your briefing last, a couple bits of news have come out. One is, the House Democrats released some emails about the Solyndra controversy, and specifically about the Department of Energy’s vetting process. And as you know, there are a lot of officials at the Department of the Office of Management and Budget who are concerned about the vetting process at the Department of Energy -- the word “oblivious” was used. Another OMB official said that -- I forget the exact language -- but implied that the Solyndra case is just the tip of the iceberg -- “Bad days are ahead.”
Has the administration gone back to the Department of Energy to make sure that this vetting process for these taxpayers’ dollars -- billions in taxpayer dollars -- is as rigorous as is necessary?
MR. CARNEY: I got a version of this question a few days ago and I can tell you that as this process has moved along, from the beginning -- and this is a program, as you know, that existed in the Bush administration before we took over; its funding increased through the Recovery Act but it was an existing program where loan applications, loan guarantee applications were reviewed by career experts, and that --
Q They were (inaudible) at Solyndra, though --
MR. CARNEY: And that is -- well, no. They sent back the application. And the person who headed that office under President Bush, for a large part of President Bush’s two terms in office, has said that he might have made the very same call on Solyndra.
There is no question -- I think you have to step back and say, look, if you’re going to do a loan guarantee program, a loan guarantee program has within it a risk. There is no guarantee -- the reason why you’re backing up these loans is because there’s no guarantee of success, but you believe, as a matter of policy, that these investments are worthwhile because you believe that the industries represented by these investments are essential to the economic future of the country.
The Chinese certainly believe that, and they’re investing billions and billions of dollars in clean energy technologies and it --
Q I’m talking about the officials in OMB who are saying that the guys that manage the department aren’t doing due diligence.
MR. CARNEY: I understand that there was -- there were differing opinions here. What is also true is that -- and there is substantial data on this about all the people who thought that this was a bet, and -- but a worthwhile one, including all sorts of private investors who thought it was worthwhile, as well as assessments made by The Wall Street Journal and others about the potential for this company as an innovative company.
It is obvious that not every investment is going to succeed, and we are disappointed that this one didn’t. But the overall program continues to succeed. And what we refuse to buy into is the defeatist attitude that was expressed just the other day -- yesterday, I think, maybe the day before -- by the Chairman of the Energy Committee in the House who said, we can’t compete; the United States cannot compete with China in the solar energy field or the wind turbine field.
Really? So that’s it? For the next -- I mean, in these vital industries we’re just going to be buying our technology and our products from China? I don’t think that’s an approach that the American people want to hear from Washington. Because we’re the United States of America. These are vital industries. We should be investing in them, helping them grow so that they can create jobs here and they can enhance our energy independence.
Because don’t forget, if we’re reliant on foreign countries for the technology for renewable energy, we’re only -- then we just become reliable -- even as our reliance on oil decreases, we rely on imports for other forms of energy. And that’s just -- that’s not sensible national security policy, and it’s not sensible economic policy. So we remain --
Q Is the vetting any more rigorous? That’s really just
MR. CARNEY: I’m sorry. But the -- and I think I addressed it, and I addressed it in the past -- it has been evaluated and adjustments have been made -- not in the last few weeks or months because of these stories -- but all along, from the beginning. And that’s my understanding. And for more specifics I would refer you to the Department of Energy. But it’s important to just step back and look at why this program is worthwhile, why folks in the previous administration thought it was worthwhile, why people who understand the vital importance of the clean energy industry, in general, to the 21st century, believe it’s worthwhile. And the President remains committed to it.
Mr. Carney can belittle all he wants but the press should not let this issue die. Answers are needed.
Okay, I am about to participate in tonight's theme and demonstrate how uncool I always have been. Or maybe just how old I am? Yes, just how old I am -- I like that better.
Growing up, as I did, in the forties and fifties (I was in college when President John F. Kennedy was shot), I did not eat cereal (tonight's topic). My mother was a home maker and she cooked a hot breakfast every morning, even in the summer, even on the weekends. We would have eggs probably three times a week. (More if we asked for them.) We would have them fried or scrambled -- with lox or as Matzo Brei (a dish of scrambled eggs and crumbled matzo). Sunday morning's she would make omlettes. (And my mother was a great cook.) In addition, we would have pancakes (which she made from scratch!) every Saturday. We would have waffles during the week one day and we would have latkas every Thursday. If she was sick, she would still insist upon getting up and would slice some bagels. And as soon as she felt better, she make blintzes as an apology (yes, she felt like she had to apologize for it). If we ate at my father's mother's, we would have Shakshuka which I love but my mother could not make for the life of her. She tried several times and always it did not work. Since it was her mother-in-law, she really did not want to learn from her mother-in-law. I did not have that problem and I asked my grandmother to show me how to make it. I can make it very quickly and my oldest son loves nothing better than this dish. (Which I have taught his wife at her request.)
If any of my children or my grandchildren (I include my daughter-in-laws as "my children") are over for breakfast or over at breakfast time, if they have time for more than a cup of coffee, I will fix something up quickly. Usually something from the list above. At the very least, we will have bagles and cream cheese. If I know ahead of time that they will be over at breakfast time I will make blintzes. With Eli (my grandson I watch during the day) he just loves eggs. So I will fix those twice a week and we will have bagels and fruit other mornings. (I would gladly cook eggs for him every morning; however, these days we know about cholesterol and other things that we did not worry about when I was growing up.)
And when my four boys were young and lived at home, I always cooked a hot meal in the morning unless I was sick because that was the pattern my mother had set and how I measured whether or not I was being a good mother. Knowing what we know now about nutrition, I would have cooked different things for the boys growing up than what I did. (I cooked exactly what my mother had cooked for me. Those foods. Not on that schedule. I would usually do lox and bagels for the boys or latkas most mornings.)
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"