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Special Report

Who's to Blame for Solyndra Crisis?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 13, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future. And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra. Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot. But through the Recovery Act this company received a loan to expand its operations. This new factory is the result of those loans.

REP. CLIFF STEARNS, R - FL: The Department of Energy was on the board of Solyndra monitoring what happens. And somebody either is incompetent to realize that something was wrong, how they were spending the money, or if they were competent, then they were involved with fraud and criminality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Solyndra is a solar panel company, or was before it declared bankruptcy. It was getting federal loan guarantees, $535 million in stimulus loan guarantees from the Obama administration even after warning signs emerged. And now there will be a hearing tomorrow on Capitol Hill to look into this and how it got this far after the warnings.

Here is from Bloomberg today, quote, "Two months before President Obama's visit, accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP warned that Solyndra, the recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, had financial troubles deep enough to, quote, 'raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.'" What about this? We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, there's a lot of smoke here. There's no wrongdoing shown yet, but there are a lot of oddities. This is the first loan guarantee that -- that went under the stimulus, half had a billion dollars. That's a huge amount of money to anybody. Incidentally, the president said a year ago, it was an empty lot. Well, in a year it's going to be an empty lot, it's gonna have a half a billion dollars buried underneath irretrievably.

And also, the fact that it is backed by one of his main contributors who raised a lot of money in the Obama campaign in 2008. And that --

BAIER: George Kaiser.

KRAUTHAMMER: George Kaiser. And when the company was on the way down, this year, Kaiser and the other investors added another $75 million into it, but I believe that in return, it got to be first in line at bankruptcy, which means, these guys will get some of their money back, and we, who pay the taxes that were entirely lost in this, will get nothing.

So, I think that there's a lot that's going to have to be looked into it and we're going to start hearing about it in the hearings. I think it will be a week, postponed a week, because the -- the president of the company wanted another week of preparation. But he's going to have a lot of explanation to do.

BAIER: June, the month after the president visited the company, Mara, Solyndra canceled its IPO. And then, there was this, as Charles mentioned, the effort by Kaiser and others to put more money in. The DOE, the Department of Energy, kind of refinanced its loan to push back the date of payback to give it some more breathing room, and it eventually fell apart. The White House is saying in response, that this application first moved forward in the Bush administration. Although it was --

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, it didn't.

BAIER: It didn't finally get finalized until the Obama administration.

LIASSON: Look, the question here is, is this going to end up being an example of how the stimulus didn't work and there was money wasted? Or is it going to be something more and worse, and a kind of financial scandal of the Obama administration, which we haven't had. And we've had Republicans following every stimulus dollar looking for waste and abuse because you'd think in a program that big it was just going to be a mess, and there were going to be scandals left and right, which there haven't been.

But this, I think, is an example of how, you know, the stimulus spent money on things that didn't pay off and didn't create the jobs it was supposed to. And now the only question is, is there going to be anything worse? It also couldn't come at a worse time for the president who of course is trying to get more money out of Congress.

BAIER: The FBI went to the company and is obviously is starting an investigation and agents were at the company last week.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Yeah, and some cynics might say that that's a useful for the Obama administration, because it allows them to say, I can't speak on this until we have a full investigation, kicking the can a little further down the road.

Whether there's criminal activity in all this, I don't know. But I'm one of these nostalgics who still remembers this little controversy over this company called Enron, and I still don't know what George Bush was supposed to have done. And yet, it consumed this town interminably. You had Paul Krugman of The New York Times saying that Enron would be remembered by historians as more important and significant than 9/11, and the White House had nothing to do with it as far as I understand.

Meanwhile, you have this, which is the poster child of vast swaths of Barack Obama's domestic policy. And it is a bankrupt, at minimum, it is a shining one of many examples of the failures of this entire green jobs push, of this entire new economy, clean energy push that Obama staked his presidency on. And I don't see why it should not be thrown in his face a great deal more than it is right now by much of the mainstream media.

BAIER: The other thing that you heard the congressman talking about as this investigation moves forward is that the Department of Energy was sitting on that board, monitoring what was happening months before this whole thing imploded, and who knew what when is really the ultimate question.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I think it's a perfectly legitimate question to have. I mean, lord knows, if Dick Cheney and his energy task force had seats on the board of Enron, people would think it was interesting and want to know, what did they know and when did they know it.

BAIER: We will follow this story here on Fox. And that's it for the panel. But stay tuned for the a unique analysis of the president's address to Congress last week.

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