FREMONT -- Mitt Romney kept up his escalating attack on President Barack Obama's economic policies this morning, calling the administration's investment in Solyndra a "gross waste" during an appearance outside the failed solar plant.
The event, kept secret from reporters until shortly beforehand, comes two years after Obama toured Solyndra, claiming it an example of the success of federal stimulus spending.
"Well, you can see that it's a symbol of something very different today," Romney said. "It's a symbol not of success, but of failure."
Romney's appearance was the latest in an effort by his campaign this week to highlight the Obama administration's involvement in Solyndra, which closed and filed for bankruptcy protection last year. It is also a measure to blunt Obama's criticism of Romney's record at Bain Capital.
Romney accused Obama of steering a $535 million federal loan guarantee for Solyndra to benefit campaign donors. He said the president's policies signal to other companies "that the best way to get ahead is not with the best ideas and the best technology and the best people and the best marketing, but instead with the best lobbyists. That is not the nature of how America works."
Romney, who secured the Republican nomination for president with his victory in Texas on Tuesday, is in California this week raising money. His appearance this morning followed a fundraiser last night at Chateau Carolands mansion in Hillsborough.
The secrecy surrounding Romney's Solyndra event involved assembling reporters at a hotel in Redwood City earlier this morning, disclosing the location of the event only after they had boarded a bus. Romney, who rode the bus to Solyndra after being picked up from a Menlo Park hotel, suggested such secrecy was because "there are a number of people among the president's team" who might try to stop it.
"I think there are people who don't want to see this event occur, don't want to have questions asked about this particular investment, don't want to have people delve into the idea that the president took a half a billion dollars of taxpayer money and devoted it to an enterprise that was owned in large measure by his campaign contributors," he said. "This is a serious conflict of interest. This ought to be a big story, and I think there are a number of people among the president's team who don't want that story to get out."