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Mitt Romney: Obama administration support for some industries ‘crony capitalism’

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today refused to call for the resignation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu but accused the Obama administration of “crony capitalism” with support for industries linked to Democratic donors.

“Whether this is a Fisker, the automobile, electric automobile company; Tesla, the electric automobile company; Solyndra or others; it doesn’t look right, it doesn’t smell right. People will get to the bottom of it eventually,” Romney said during an interview with Fox Business Network’s host Neil Cavuto.

The interview will be broadcast when his program “Cavuto” airs at 6 p.m. EST.

“The whole idea of the federal government investing in these companies, particularly when there’s such a connection with Democratic fund-raisers, leaves a very bad taste in people’s minds and suggests a pattern of crony capitalism. And that’s something which America simply can’t stand for,” Romney added.


Nonetheless, he resisted Cavuto’s suggestion Chu might have to resign over the activity.

“I think if he was following the policies of the White House in terms of making these loans, why, that is the White House that needs to be changed, and that’s what I’m fighting to do,” said Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor’s appearance comes after another host, “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, called him out for not appearing on his show, as have the other Republican presidential contenders.

The criticism prompted accusations Romney has been ducking the media as he tries to hold onto his lead in the nominating contest. In the aftermath of that criticism, Romney not only spoke this week with Cavuto, but Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Elsewhere in today’s conversation, Romney denied he was seeking a trade war with China with his tough talk about the country’s alleged currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

“What I recognize is that we buy a heck of a lot more from them than they buy from us. So they’re not interested in a trade war. They have a lot more to lose in that regard than we would. And that’s not going to happen,” said Romney.


“What we’re seeing is a kind of a subterranean trade war right now, where they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our technology, they’re taking our intellectual property and they’re doing it by not following the rules that normally exist in a free trade society,” he added. “You’ve got to play by the rules. You don’t play by the rules, there will be consequences.”

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.