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Sunday, October 9, 2011

GOP Solyndra probe wants Obama's BlackBerry messages

The President uses his Blackberry outside the White House. AP Photo               
The GOP's demand for all White House communications on Solyndra covers President Barack Obama's personal BlackBerry messages too, Rep. Cliff Stearns said Thursday.

The Florida Republican said he made the precedent-setting request to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler on Wednesday after newly released emails showed that warning flags about the California solar company’s shaky finances had reached into the president’s inner circle, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

"We asked for all communications between the president, the White House and Solyndra,” Stearns said. “So if there's nothing on his BlackBerry, that's fine. But if there's something on his BlackBerry, I would assume that would include that.

"I don't know how that technically works," Stearns added of his unusual request. "But we've asked for them, so we're hopeful we'll get some response."

Obama fought his lawyers early in his term to become the first president to use a BlackBerry. He's said he uses it to keep in touch with a small circle of people — and so far, there has been no successful attempt to make any of the messages public

Stearns’s request is the latest move in an escalating and increasingly personal battle with the White House over Solyndra.

During his news conference Thursday, Obama singled out Stearns’s statement earlier this week to NPR that “we can't compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines.”

“I don’t buy that,” Obama said. “I’m not going to surrender to other countries technical leads that could determine whether or not we’re going to have a strong middle class in this country.”
"I was a little puzzled to see the president single me out," Stearns replied Thursday when asked about his moment in the presidential spotlight.

Stearns’s office also released a statement pushing back at Obama.

“If President Obama believes that we should borrow billions of dollars from China to subsidize American businesses trying to compete with China then he doesn’t understand this country’s economic system," Stearns said.

Read more: Politico

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