May 7th, 2012
09:38 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney: 'I'll take a lot of credit' for auto industry success

(CNN) - Democrats and Republicans have slammed Mitt Romney for his 2008 view that Detroit should "go bankrupt," but the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said Monday his views played a big part in the auto industry's recovery.

"I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back," Romney told WEWS-TV in Cleveland. Speaking after a campaign stop at a metal stamping facility in nearby Euclid, Romney said the industry needed to enter a "managed bankruptcy" process in order to fully recover – and that was what eventually helped American automakers get back on their feet.

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"My own view is that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help," Romney said. "And frankly, that's finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy."

Responding to the former Massachusetts governor's comments, President Barack Obama's national campaign co-chair Ted Strickland said Romney was trying to "fool" Americans with his remarks.

"Mitt Romney may think he can fool the American people by hiding his belief that we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt,' but the American people won't let him," Strickland said in a statement. "His comments today that he will 'take a lot of credit that the [auto] industry has come back' are a new low in dishonesty, even for him. Mitt Romney seems to think Americans will just forget the past and his very vocal and clear opposition to the successful auto rescue."

Romney has defended his opposition to the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler earlier in the campaign, particularly while battling GOP rivals ahead of the Michigan primary in February.

In 2008 Romney penned a now-infamous op-ed in the New York Times with the headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," a piece that has consistently been used against him by both his Republican opponents and Democrats looking to re-elect Obama.

The op-ed argued that federal loans weren't the answer to ailing automakers, and that companies struggling to stay afloat should enter a process that would allow them to "shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs." Lending money to the automakers would be tantamount to destroying the industry, Romney wrote: "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

In February, he said that Obama eventually "got to the same place I had suggested" by putting GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy - but accused the president of "crony capitalism" by protecting unionized autoworkers during the process.

GM and Chrysler accepted federal loans amounting to $80 billion, though a portion of that came under the administration of former President George W. Bush. Economists make the argument that without the large federal loan, the bankruptcy process would not have been possible since the government was the only entity with the capacity to lend such large sums.

In February, GM announced record annual profit, and regained its position as the world's largest automaker.

Romney said Monday that opponents of putting companies like GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy stalled the industry's upturn, naming the United Auto Workers and Obama as obstacles to progress.

"It was the UAW and the president that delayed the idea of bankruptcy. I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was done and help was given, the companies got back on their feet," Romney said.

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Filed under: Auto Bailout • Mitt Romney
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Excoastie

    Please Mr. Romney in all due respect you had nothing to do with the revival of the American automobile industry, your economic policies would have been a disaster for American manufacturing.

    May 7, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  2. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    And you developed the internet too, right Mitt?

    May 7, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. bilk7

    There is seriously something wrong with this guy. He's delusional if he thinks he can now take credit for something he was against. Flip-flopping is one thing.....and Romney does it well.....but making statements like this is just sheer insanity.

    May 7, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  4. raj

    I ask EARTH to go round the SUN all the time so there is day and night and different season in a year. And I asked to do so every year. HOW ABOUT THAT MR. ROMNEY ?

    May 7, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  5. jc

    This guy is an endless source of comic relief.

    May 7, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. bob

    Mr.Romney will soon take credit for the birth of President Ronald Reagan.
    That's just my opinion!

    May 7, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Mayor of Detroit

    Thank you Romney for saving auto industry. I will remember that in November.

    May 7, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. LCSWquilter

    Romney is so disingenuous - and that is putting it nicely.

    May 7, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  9. LCSWquilter

    The Etch-a-Sketch candidate strikes again.

    May 7, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem in letting Detroit go bankrupt is that it would have been liquidation and not reorganization. Without the capital of the US government, then there would have been none for the reorganization. I think that needs to be mentioned. Romney needs to be honest about that.

    May 7, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    How about the Financial Services. why shouldn't they gone through Bankruptcy as well?

    May 7, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  12. Sam Salma

    how about the Financial Services? why shouldn't they have gone through Bankruptcy

    May 7, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  13. vistaviewer

    FLIP FLOP! FLIP FLOP!

    May 7, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. Tanker-A

    I have officially heard it all.

    May 7, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. SKS

    Romney is trying to FOOL Americans, Lol!

    May 7, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. stephen

    the republicans...... who Are Too weak to Follow Their Own Dreams. Will Always Find A Way To Discourage Yours. Obama / Biden 2012 !!!

    May 7, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. labman57

    "The auto industry bailout was a bad idea and should never have happened ... unless the American people support it and credit the bailout with the industry's dramatic recovery ... in which case it was my idea all along."

    Hmmm. So either Romney and his aides are full of crap, or Mr. "The U.S. auto industry should have gone bankrupt!" suffers from a severe case of self-loathing.

    May 7, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. zo

    Wow! This guy knows no shame. I think he believes his own littany of lies

    May 7, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Bravin Neff

    He can't be serious.

    May 7, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  20. ct

    another romney fail

    May 7, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. usualone

    Only those who don't like this President would believe these ridiculous comments. That's how Romney handled businesses when with Bain and we know how that turned out. Even his primary opponents spoke out against his past comments. He cannot flip-flop what is out there for all to see.

    May 7, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Jay

    Nice try Romney.

    May 7, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. meandmyjr

    I suppose he invented the internet too.

    May 7, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. Rich

    I believe this like I believe the earth is flat. I do believe that Romney did want the
    Auto industry to go bankrupt and out of business, because anything to destroy the President of the United States, even if it means destroying the country. This guy is trying so hard to please the tea bag party and right winger extremes that he will destroy this country, just as they want to do.

    May 7, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  25. tony

    Gosh. I just remembered, Romney helped me invent the Internet.

    May 7, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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