Mitt Romney’s campaign justified its secrecy in setting up a press conference in front of Solyndra’s California headquarters Thursday by warning of a conspiracy by White House officials to potentially sabotage their efforts.
“We knew, if word got out, that Solyndra would do everything in their power, and the Obama administration would do everything in their power, to stop us from having this news conference,”an unnamed adviser told reporters, per CNN.
Reporters raised the question of how this devious plot to derail the event would work, given that the freedom to hold a press conference in public is a fairly basic right.
“Well, he’s only the president of the United States,” the adviser replied. “I mean, they could work with town officials to deny us access.”
Romney alluded to similar concerns in his press conference.
“I think there are people who don’t want to see this event occur, don’t want to have questions asked about this particular investment,” Romney told reporters when asked about the secrecy behind the event, according to the New York Times.
DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse dismissed the claim of conspiracy as a fringe notion.
“It’s actually bizarre,” he said. “I don’t want to use the term ‘weird,’ but I dont know where he would get that idea from.”
Woodhouse noted the irony that Romney supporters actually interrupted an Obama campaign press conference in Boston with chants and a bubble machine earlier the same day.
“He’s delusional,” another Democratic aide told TPM when asked about the charge.
Romney’s surprise press conference was part of an effort to highlight the company’s bankruptcy after it received $500 million in loan guarantees from the federal government. The White House has defended its actions, saying the failed loan was only one part of a broader and important clean-energy program that began in 2005 under President Bush.
Evan McMorris-Santoro contributed to this report.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.