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.

Also see:

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Filed under: Auto Bailout • Mitt Romney
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. luke,az

    It's not going to work Gov. Romney, You can't keep lying to the American people.

    May 8, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  2. Danigirl65

    Sure, Mittens, whatever you say.

    May 8, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. nolimits3333

    Romney is delusional.

    May 8, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  4. Chris Crew

    Got Honesty Issues???

    May 8, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. chuck weidemann

    Never trust a man who wants all the credit!!! They only care for themselves....

    May 8, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  6. shelbe hill

    What a bunch of garbage I distinctively heard him say he would let the auto industry go bankrupt, all this lying is going to catch up with him one day.

    May 8, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  7. jb1963

    If I had the slightest thought about voting for this foll they are gone now.

    May 8, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  8. chuck weidemann

    Next Romney will take credit for getting Bin Laden. Right he did say anyone could have done it.

    May 8, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  9. Michelle

    Seriously? I CAN'T BELIEVE he's trying to take credit for the success of the government bailout. Is he in fantasy land? Next he'll be taking credit for the Giants winning the Superbowl because he bet on them. Really Romney? Politicians are pathetic in their seeming inability to admit they were wrong.

    May 8, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  10. Michael

    Next up: Romney takes a lot of credit for inventing the internets.

    May 8, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  11. John

    Words have meaning, Mitt. In the same breath you said Obama was an obstacle to solution, and also that Obama got to [and implemented] exactly what you were suggesting. Since that is about timing it is not self-contradictory, but it is weak. Because he did NOT get to where you are, he did it a different way. Both ways might have worked, but I think in terms of jobs, if nothing else, his was faster and therefore better. You are better off not talking about this than you are doing this ugly thing after the fact.

    May 8, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  12. Cary

    Man, if you lie consistently, no one will ever trust anything you ever say. Everything this guy says is a flat out lie. Each time he opens his mouth we will asking "what is he lying about now?".

    May 8, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  13. Dann DFW

    And Al Gore really did invent the internet.

    May 8, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  14. Thomas

    The only help he gave the Auto industry was buying his wife a few Cadillacs .

    Mitt Romney 2012
    I'll take a lot of credit' for auto industry success ?

    Daddy Issues !

    May 8, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  15. dele

    flip flopping at its best...we learn from him.

    May 8, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Romney says he will do everything opposite of Obama. That`s of course if it turns out to be successful for Obama then he`ll take credit or will say "Of course I would have done that."

    May 8, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  17. làmnotfooled

    Unbelievable. This man has no shame.

    May 8, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  18. Mike Z

    evidently, Mittens is also taking credit for the sunrise and partial credit for the wheel....

    May 8, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  19. wkndthg

    Really mit?

    May 8, 2012 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  20. orlando smith

    Clearly Romney's "strategy" is to lie his way to the presidency and given the fickle nature of the U.S. electorate and the responses I read on posts such as this one he may very well pull it off. Lest we forget that this country elected GW Bush twice!

    May 8, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  21. garrett

    when republicans win,working people always lose.

    May 8, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  22. Rush

    He has no shame. None.

    May 8, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  23. king

    Mitten lies and deceit knows no bound. Mitten was speaking off cloture capitalism he's been doing all his life with vain, and that is gutting struggling companies, sells its assets to his investors and sending what left to China for cheap labor. Obama took a risk which the American people was against and it worked. Now GM is the biggest car company on the planet. I keep saying that mitten experience of taking care of a few worthy few, and leave the mass majority to the dogs. This is what mitten has been doing his whole life, making the rich richer, and hiding his money in off shore bank accounts so not to help out the middle class and struggling. It will take a community organizer to help the middle class, so the top and the bottom can be successful. Every thing is better when you take the middle, which is not too sweet or too bitter.

    May 8, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  24. Gotta Be Kiddin

    Is it Nov. 6th yet?

    OBAMA 2012

    May 8, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  25. Steve From NH

    Good for him! I'm going to take a lot of credit for the sun rising in the east tomorrow too, because I predicted it. You heard it here first.

    May 8, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
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