E-Cat news has reported an interview with US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney under the title “Presidential candidate hopes for Cold Fusion”. The comment was picked up by David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix from the transcript of an interview by the Washington Examiner.
Bernstein’s own notes are that “It is unusual, to say the least, that a campaigning Presidential candidate would know anything about cold fusion, let alone recalling off the top of his head the university that conducted an experiment more than two decades ago. It is even odder that a campaigning Presidential candidate would voluntarily cite, in an on-the-record interview, the promise of a science considered by most physicists to be a total hoax. Frankly, you might expect it from Newt Gingrich, not Romney.”
Having listened to the full transcript which is available on YouTube I think it has to be put in context. The quotation is accurate and, to the credit of e-cat news, they do mention that there is audible laughter at the mention of cold fusion. This is the actual quote from Romney.
“I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with – with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.”
The website does acknowledge the chuckle as he mentions cold fusion but cannot decide whether he was making a joke or even if the remark was an error (confusing cold fusion for something else). The conclusion they come to is that, since it was phrased in such a light-hearted manner, “If Rossi pans out, Romney can point to this record and look pretty damned smart. If the e-Cat does not live up to its promise, he can always say he was joking or that it was a slip of the tongue. Clever, really. He should have been a politician.”
Our own take on it is that we are most impressed that Senator Romney has not only heard of Cold Fusion, but that he also appears to have some knowledge of the research. In these paranoid times we find it reassuring that a politician has any knowledge on the subject at all!