Ouch: Romney Calls Tesla a ‘Loser’

In the back and forth in Wednesday night’s presidential debate over tax breaks to energy companies, Republican nominee Mitt Romney argued that President Obama’s grants and tax breaks to renewable energy companies equalled 50 years of the tax breaks to gas companies.

Romney then name-dropped a few beneficiaries including the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra and Tesla Motors, the car maker that has gotten a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy, which it is paying off.

Romney then quipped that “One of my friends said, ‘You don’t pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers.’”

Snap. And ouch.

It’s a bit premature to call Tesla a loser – especially as the company is building cars it hopes will revolutionize transportation.

Moreover, founder Elon Musk says it will accelerate its payment of the principal in the spring — and the Department of Energy isn’t complaining it’s not getting its money back.

While Tesla Motor’s future remains deeply uncertain, the Tesla Model S has gotten fantastic reviews, and Musk is inarguably one of Silicon Valley’s visionaries.

So calling Tesla a loser might be one of those “zingers” that everyone looks for in these kind of debates, but it’s certainly not a way to win the respect of the tech world.