Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney made a surprise visit to Solyndra headquarters in Fremont Thursday.
The presidential hopeful used the now-shuttered solar energy building, which received a $535-million loan guarantee from the Obama-administration, as a target to attack President Obama. In September, the company filed for bankruptcy, abruptly closed, and employees were let go without notice.
Romney said that the taxpayers are on the hook for the president's poor decisions involving Solyndra and that Mr. Obama's friends are the only ones who have benefited from the deal.
"It's also a symbol of gross waste," Romeney said. "This is not the kind of building built by free enterprise, it's the kind of building built with half a billion dollars of taxpayer funds."
Romney's use of Solyndra as a news backdrop came as a surprise.
Romney aides said they did not want to make a visit to the site well-known beforehand because they felt that it would have been stopped.
"The reason for keeping it quiet is because we knew if word got out that Solyndra would do everything in their power and the Obama administration would do everything in their power to stop us from having this news conference,” an aide said in a press briefing en route to the site. "But taxpayers made a substantial investment in Solyndra, there are serious questions about what happened at Solyndra, why that investment was selected, what happened to that money."
Romney has been hammering the president on Solyndra during his Bay Area visit, which began on Wednesday with a fundraiser.
The conservative politician landed in the Bay Area Wednesday fresh off his victory in the Texas primary a day earlier.
Former U.S. Secretary of State and Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice endorsed Romney at the event. She has been mentioned as a possible vice president pick for Romney but Rice has said she is not interested in the job.