The Statement: In a television ad that began airing in Michigan on Sept. 24 from Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, the narrator says Republican Sen. John McCain "refused to support loan guarantees for the auto industry. But now he's telling a different story."
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The Facts: Government loans to the beleaguered U.S. auto industry were part of last year's energy bill in Congress, but were not funded. Obama has supported such loans. McCain has been quoted in Michigan media in recent weeks first expressing skepticism about the need for such federal loans, then saying he supported the program.
On Aug. 14, the Detroit News quoted McCain as saying that he feared loans to automakers might create a sense of doom around the companies. "I have heard many of these proposals, but I have also had meetings with the Big 3 automakers, and they are confident that with the new hybrids and flex-fuels and other technology advances ... they can succeed. So in all due respect, I worry a little bit about us predicting failure on the part of the automakers when they're struggling mightily," McCain said.
But in a commentary he wrote for the same newspaper on August 18, McCain said, "If the (auto) industry should need federal assistance, I will consider any reasonable proposal they develop that moves the industry to a more stable and prosperous future."
At a speech to auto workers at a General Motors plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, on Sept. 19, McCain stopped short of declaring outright support for federal loans. But he pledged his support to the auto industry. "I'm here to send a message to Washington and Wall Street. We are not going to leave the workers here in Michigan hung out to dry while we give billions in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street. It is time to get our auto industry back on its feet," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the McCain-Palin Web site.
The Verdict: Misleading. McCain's public comments on the issue have shifted. But while he expressed unease about the loans, in his published comments he has not "refused" to support them.