When it comes to the American auto industry, Mitt Romney believes its investment in a fuel-efficient future is a joke.
The 64-year-old Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts responded with dismissive laughter last week when asked what he thought of the Chevy Volt, adding that the plug-in hybrid is an "idea whose time has not come." His campaign later went on to defend the statement as reflective of the car's slow sales — but critics were quick to pounce.
United Auto Workers Local 22 President George McGregor says Romney should think before bashing innovation born in Detroit. "It's not an idea that is ahead of its time," he said on a conference call with reporters. "It's behind its time. It should have been here (years ago), so we wouldn't be dependent on foreign oil."
"We want to promote innovation like the Chevy Volt," he said. "We want to promote manufacturing and innovation. We don't want to look at ways to criticize it and stifle it."
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, also responded, posting on her Twitter account: "My blood is boiling: Romney attacks the Volt, a FANTASTIC U.S. car made in his home state by American workers."
As Autobloggreen points out, Romney has long been critical of President Obama's support for Department of Energy loans to companies like Nissan, Ford and Tesla Motors, despite the fact that the program was started under President George Bush.
"So sad," wrote one commenter on The Huffington Post. "What does anyone running for President have against a car that is Made in America, by American workers, and uses almost exclusively Made-in-America fuel. I've had a Volt for over 7000 miles, and I have only gotten gas twice. It is the best car I have ever owned — smoothest, quietest, and feels the fastest. The instant, silent torque that pushes you back in your seat has to felt to be believed."
To learn more about Romney's energy and environmental policies, hit MNN's in-depth coverage here.
Also on MNN: Romney wants to cut funding for PBS, Sesame Street