Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has rebuffed a push by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to reconsider its newly minted opposition to the wind tax credit Grassley authored.
"Nobody consulted us on this," Grassley fumed in a hallway interview after the Republican lunches today. After a story appeared in the Des Moines Register, Grassley said he called the Iowa campaign staff for Romney and complained.
"I think people that didn't know what they were doing said it, because he was over in Poland — he obviously wasn't thinking about wind energy," Grassley said. "I don't think it's going to stand. ... I don't think that that's the real position of the party because they said that they were going to consult me on this stuff, and they haven't gotten my view," he said.
Grassley said that he told the Romney official, "'It's strange to me that this would come out of Iowa where the father of the wind energy tax credit happens to be the senior Senator.'"
The tax credit expires at the end of the year, and extending it is part of President Barack Obama's to-do list.
But asked about whether they might reverse course, the Romney campaign made clear the former Massachusetts governor will not change his opposition to the tax credit. “President Obama’s promise to ‘easily’ create 5 million green energy jobs has become a particularly depressing punch line amidst the endless disappointments of the last four years," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. "The president spent $90 billion in taxpayer stimulus dollars, some of which went to his donors and political allies or was sent to create jobs overseas instead of here in America. Now we have American wind and solar energy sectors that combine to produce only 1 percent of our energy — and our wind industry has actually lost 10,000 jobs.”
Romney "will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits. Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive and wherever private-sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results,” Williams continued.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), meanwhile, was informed of the Romney campaign's position by a reporter and expressed surprise.
"Good luck in Iowa," he said, saying that wind power employs 6,000 people in Iowa. He then chatted with a big smile on his face with Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod, who dropped by the Capitol during the Senate Democratic lunch.
Iowa is considered a presidential battleground state and has six electoral votes up for grabs.