(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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Wow, what a surprise, more dishonesty from Willard Romney.
This must be an article from The Onion. No way he is really trying to take credit for the auto companies turn around.
It must be nice . Mitt can take credit for doing nothing. He was against the loan from the government that set up the comeback. Now he tries to take credit for something he was not involved in. No one followed his let the auto industry fail approach. Thank goodness.
This man is truly delusional and if elected will be no doubt a disaster for America and our people.
"Go bankrupt" and "let them enter managed bankruptcy" are two entirely different things and Romney knows he's fudging history and his prior position. He gets ZERO credit for anything that happened to the auto industry because he had nothing to do with anything in any way shape or form.
I can't support Romney not because he's a "flip flopper" but because he simply says whatever pleases the people he's standing in front of at the moment.
OMG now he's taking credit after saying the automobile industry should go bankrupt? He will go whichever way the wind blows. Let's move FORWARD OBAMA & BIDEN 2012
Mitt needs to step up and put the Blame squarely on Ronald Reagan for removing the Millage improvements that were in place by Jimmy Carter after the Oil Embargo. By removing these Millage standards Ronny set into place the demise of the Auto Ind.By favoring the Oil Ind. they put the Auto Ind. at Risk.
Rich Money is funny. Soon he'll take credit for ObamaCare!
Romney reminds me of the kid in class who will said anything and do anything to get a good grade from the teacher, even if it meant ratting someone out. If he is not a trustworthy person now, why would he change as president?
If Yahoo's CEO can do it, so can Romney.
What he really meant was that the US auto industry should have been put at the mercy of of arbitrage and those who want to obtain a carried interest which permits them to pay a 15% tax rate.
The US needs to send him on his way. What is good for 1%'s is not good for the US middle class.
Wow... just wow. This guy really does say anything whether it's true or not.
My name says it all. Romney 2012
Excuse me, where is Earth? If this article quoted Romney correctly, then I must be on another planet and need to get home.
Can we trust Mitt Romney since he is telling all lies to make himself look good so in that way he can get into the White House so we will end up being surprise of who he really is. He is not trustworthy. Don't be surprise to see if he has a lot of money overseas to avoid taxes. If it is true, he is not supporting our country by paying fair taxes like we all do.
How can this man even look at himself in the mirror?? Newt Gingrich said it best, he is a liar!
i saw the importance of science fiction when i was a child.
i'm going to take credit for the ipad.
this is the guy they want as president?
how would the auto industry survive without a government bailout? the banks were lending zero money to anyone at the time. The banks were collapsing!
bankruptcy is not a magical cure-all. They'd still need a loan to keep operations up and running, unless their workers were willing to work for free for a year.
this is the guy, eh republicans, that knows so much about the economy?!
Is he serious..?.........wow
This man has no shame to lie in every single issue.
A lot of people don't realize that after these companies got money from the government they still had to go through bankruptcy! The bankruptcy is what finally helped them, not the bailout.
What a crock!
Well that's certainly an interesting spin on his previous position. Is there nothing this guy won't say or do in his attempt to pull the wool over American voters?
Next he'll explain how he gave the order to take out Osama Bin Laden...America Thanks You Willard!
Taking credit for a bad advice? How could you take credit for another man's intensive research and successful decision? Is this how Mitt will be taking credit for every other successes by other Presidents if he emerged a President?
Mr. Romney, would you have taken the blame if the decison by the President to save Auto didnt end up successful?