Cabinet secretary responds to electrifying Onion story
February 7th, 2013
05:38 PM ET
1 year ago

Cabinet secretary responds to electrifying Onion story

(CNN) - Outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants you to know he isn't stepping down because of a saucy scandal.

Especially not one "reported" this week by the sarcastic mock newspaper The Onion.

"Chu awoke Thursday morning to find himself sleeping next to a giant solar panel he had met the previous evening," cracked wise the paper, adding that Chu was accompanied by a "partially blanketed 18-square-foot photovoltaic solar module whose manufacturer he was reportedly unable to recall."

"According to sources," the Onion speculated, "Chu's encounter with the crystalline-silicon solar receptor was his most regrettable dalliance since 2009, when an extended fling with a 90-foot wind turbine nearly ended his marriage."

In Washington, where affairs can end careers, the tradition is to vehemently deny impropriety.

Even when it is made up by a newspaper nobody takes seriously.

"I just want everyone to know that my decision not to serve a second term as energy secretary has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations made in this week's edition of the Onion," Chu wrote in a statement responding to the concocted story he posted to Facebook.

"While I'm not going to confirm or deny the charges specifically, I will say that clean, renewable solar power is a growing source of U.S. jobs and is becoming more and more affordable, so it's no surprise that lots of Americans are falling in love with solar," he teased.

Chu noted an increase in solar technology use in a letter announcing his resignation to energy department staff, and President Barack Obama said under Chu the U.S. has "doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs."

But Chu also led the Energy Department when it backed over $500 million in financing to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which later went bankrupt at a loss to taxpayers. Republicans used it against Obama as an icon of what Rep. Darrel Issa described as "the department's deeply misguided effort to use taxpayer dollars as an investment bank for unproven technologies."

Within an hour of posting his rebuttal to the artificial report, over 700 people had "liked" the post and it had been "shared" elsewhere on the social networking site 267 times.

"On this day, Secretary Chu won the internet," wrote one commenter.

Chu is a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics and a former professor of physics and biology who has worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, University of California and Stanford University. He is 65 and announced Friday that he was stepping down from the post.


Filed under: Energy • Steven Chu
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    He has to be very strong. Pathetic news media is so idiotic. Just like one guy said watching fox news that your savings will be grabbed to pay our national debt–I said BS.

    February 7, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Thank you for your service Mr. Chu!!!!!

    February 7, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Meh. Crazy geniuses frequently have very attenuated or even non-existent senses of humor.

    February 7, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Dave

    The ONION does what it does best: SATIRE & COMIC RELIEF; rubes just "don't get that".

    February 7, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. CT_Yank

    Nice to see something healthy in Washington – even if it's just a sense of humor.

    February 7, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    “Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

    The only thing the country needs to remember about this fanatic is that he thinks it would be cool if Americans had to pay ten bucks a gallon for gas.

    February 7, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. Pete

    At least he's not chasing the pages around capital hill like some senators,congressmen did years ago remember that republican posters!!Or how McCain soon running for senator told his bedridden wove that's she's not pretty enough for a politician,she was struggling after an auto accident..Sen.Mark Sanford and his Argentina fling he's with now caught by the National Enquirer while supposidly happily married..Or Newt Gingrich telling his wife pretty much the same thing but multiple times and now with Cindy his third wife,more moral,ethical hypocrites from the right..But don't let something like that happen to a democrate like John Roberts and republicans are all over it aren't they..Republicans the sanctumonious ones will never learn or do they want too!!

    February 7, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |