U.S. Senator Jim Talent (R-MO):
"We're here today to discuss the misplaced sense of priorities of the administration, and we have a specific example of that in Missouri that I'm going to touch briefly...It's no secret to anybody that our economy is in bad shape. It's staggering along. Unemployment's been above 8 percent for longer than since the Great Depression. Median family income, and this is a terrible statistic but true, is down $4,300 dollars. The jobs results the last few months have been very disappointing. Half of the kids getting out of college can't get a job. CBS said this is the 'worst economic recovery we've ever had,' and they're right. I mean that's just a factual matter.
"While all this has been happening, the president has been too busy to meet with his jobs council for the last six months. Hasn't been too busy to have 106 fundraisers, but he's been too busy to meet with his jobs council, and his comment the other day about the fact that small business people didn't build their business really shows the attitude that's the problem. So, if he'd met with his jobs counsel they would have told him what the problem is.
"His tax and regulatory and spending policies have burdened the economy to the point where it can't produce jobs, and of course our small business people around the country know much more of that is coming, they don't know how much is coming, but they know it's going to be big, and in that kind of an environment you can't grow, you can't invest, and you can't create jobs, and that's why we're in essence a weak and jobless recovery. But you know we have an example of the president's misplaced sense of priorities here in Missouri, I mean he didn't have time to meet with his jobs council. He's been paying attention to his donors, and that's a pattern that started early in his administration with the stimulus package and particularly with the energy loans and guarantees and payments to companies.
"The chief example of that is Solyndra. They got a half a billion dollars and went bankrupt, but there were many others. The inspector general of the Energy Department found that contracts had been steered to family and friends. As of the end of last year the idea started 100 criminal investigations relating to those kinds of payments. We do have an example in Missouri of a payment that was made to an influential Democrat, Tom Carnahan, for his wind farm it was $107 million dollars...But again, the point is that the president hasn't had time to meet with his jobs council, and isn't talking about the issues relating to the economy in this campaign despite what his policies have done, but he has had time to attend to his political duties."
State Auditor Tom Schweich:
"Obviously, from the Missouri perspective...there are a lot of people hurting in Missouri. There's tremendous pain on the working class people... Jim mentioned the Tom Carnahan wind farm and this is the kind of thing that really irritates people in Missouri. When you have one of President Obama's biggest allies, which is somebody who is the brother of a congressman, the brother of the secretary of state of Missouri who received $107 million dollars in stimulus cash for a wind farm and then resigned recently, pretty much acknowledging he didn't have any energy experience. And it just looks like crony capitalism to everybody here. We were all very offended with President Obama's statement that if you got a business 'you didn't build that,' but that may be true in the case of Tom Carnahan. It looks like President Obama built that business for him so maybe that's what he was talking about.
"We have also done significant auditing of the stimulus money here in Missouri over the past three years and found hundreds of millions of dollars of wasted or untracked stimulus money. $200,000 dollars of stimulus money given to a childcare program made to ineligible clients. Almost $9 million dollars of school improvement funds with almost no record of where the money went and the list kind of goes on and on. So, we here in Missouri are very concerned with the way President Obama is spending money, rewarding his friends, not keeping track of valuable taxpayer dollars that are sent to the state."
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd:
"As a locally elected office holder on this call let me tell you that I think folks have been really offended by President Obama's misunderstanding of the economy. When he says, to Governor Romney, that you didn't build that. He is really saying to all small business people, is that they're not responsible for the jobs they are creating. And I have talked to a lot of folks in Platte County, Missouri who really feel like this president is out of touch with what makes our economy move.
"Now on the other hand, he really is willing, it appears, to reward his political contributors with free money...Tom Carnahan and I went to college together. And as has been reported elsewhere Tom Carnahan had no experience in wind energy and yet he gets a $107 million dollar giveaway. Now that's not a loan, that's a $107 million dollars to start a company that he acknowledges he had no experience in, at all. The only real connection he had was as a donor and a bundler. He was a bundler for the president hosting a $25 thousand dollar plate fundraising dinner in St. Louis for the President of the United States.
"So, I think ultimately in this election we have a real contrast between a candidate who understands what makes our economy move and how to get people back to work and a president who quite frankly is out of touch. Who doesn't seem to care and has time to do fundraisers and reward his funders. Has time to play golf but doesn't have time to meet with his jobs council and in my opinion and the opinion of a lot of folks at the local level. That's a real problem."
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Government Accountability Cronyism