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Obama defends loan to Solyndra, calling it a 'good bet'

October 03, 2011|By Christi Parsons
  • President Obama tours Solyndra in Fremont, Calif., in May 2010.
President Obama tours Solyndra in Fremont, Calif., in May 2010. (Paul Chinn / Pool Photo )

President Obama is cruising the Internet these days -- sometimes on a pre-release iPad given to him personally by Steve Jobs -- with a reading list made up mostly of mainstream media outlets.

"Typically I read on the Web what I read in hard copy," Obama said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Monday afternoon.

Obama said there are some exceptions to the rule, and that he does read some blogs as well as abcnews.com and yahoo.com, the two outlets that were live-streaming the White House interview.

In a short but wide-ranging interview, the president spoke for the first time on the collapse of Solyndra, the solar start-up company that got a government-backed loan in 2009.

The question arose shortly after Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released copies of internal emails in which senior administration officials warned against having Obama visit the company as its financial troubles piled up.

Obama said the loan guarantee program is working well overall, despite the fact that "not every single business is going to succeed."

If the U.S. wants to compete with other countries that are subsidizing "industries of the future," Obama said, the government has to make sure American companies "get a shot" to compete.

"Hindsight is always 20/20," Obama said. "It went through the regular review process and people felt this was a good bet."

Just how his daughters have gotten information about that and other presidential decisions, Obama left a little fuzzy.

"They don't watch news," Obama said as he acknowledged Stephanopoulos' assertion that they have access to the Internet.

They don’t believe negative things when they hear them because "they know who their daddy is," he said.

For his part, though, he has the iPad that Jobs, the former Apple CEO, gave to him early.

He reads some blogs, the president said, but he never posts comments.

"I figure if I got started, I wouldn't stop," Obama said.

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