May 7th, 2012
09:38 PM ET
2 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. Marie MD

    Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, but what exactly was your appointment to anything regarding the auto industry. Didn't you tell Detroit and Michigan to go bankrupt themselves.
    Sorry sociobishop but you are still lying through your caps and now you have the unions against you.
    Anybody left to hate this guy?

    May 8, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  2. dreucalypt

    An outrageous lie. Romney is just plain incapable of telling the truth.

    May 8, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  3. ngc1300

    Nothing like revisionist history, is there Mitt?

    May 8, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  4. Rick 7809

    The typical republican thought process; you tell a lie long enough and loud enough and the faithful will believe.

    May 8, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  5. Jack V

    This man will say whatever it takes to get ahead.

    May 8, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  6. larry

    If cutting my grass would help him win the presidency, Romney would take a lot of credit for that too. Newt was right, Romney is a straight up liar.

    May 8, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  7. Jerome

    "...a new low in dishonesty..."

    That's pretty bad, especially coming from Obama's national campaign co-chair.

    May 8, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  8. RKN

    So the republicans don't want to give Obama credit for things he has done – and now they want to take credit for things they have had nothing to do with.... This is going to be an election for republican fantasy land.
    We thought they were ot of touch because they were rich – they are just out of touch.

    May 8, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  9. Suleiman the Magnificent

    He saved the auto industry. He invented the internet. He invested frozen orange juice. He invented television. He invented electricity. Why don't we give him a lot of credit for that? Why can't we believe all he says? He is a man of the people. An honest man. Never wavers in his opinion. He's been ready for 55 years to be the President. Suffering socketash, don't you all just love him? He created everything.

    May 8, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  10. 40 acres

    Romney's answer to everything is to let them go bankrupt. He says the same about the Real Estate market. He doesn't care that that means thousands more losing their homes....all he cares about is the bottom line on the spreadsheet. It's how he thinks. Go bankrupt, forget about paying what you owe to workers, suppliers, pensions, taxes etc......keep or sell off the assets, walk away with millions and let the government pick up the pieces. How will this work with him if he is elected???? To Romney, we the people are smply cost units to be disgarded when the expenses are high.

    What's the saying? Privatize profits, nationalize loss.

    May 8, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  11. Stephen

    Mitt also invented the Internet.

    May 8, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  12. John1001

    This guy would take credit for a sunny day

    May 8, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  13. mcp123

    Romney continues to show his elite ability to flip-flop on just about everything.

    May 8, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  14. Michigander

    Are you kidding me Romney? Utterly without any moral sense of decency to claim credit for the Auto industry success. This is the biggest fraud I have ever seen. I can't even believe he's trying to spin this in his favor.

    May 8, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  15. Cayman Islands

    I take credit for the moon landing and the invention of penecillin. And the invention of microchips and low fat yogurt.

    Reality is I am more able to claim credit for those things than mittens can claim for saving the auto industry because at least I nver advocated AGAINST them.

    May 8, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  16. longtooth

    A managed bankruptcy wouldn't have been possible and Romney knows it. He favored letting the American auto industry collapse, destroying the unions, and leaving workers with no pensions. And now he wants credit for Obama's work. Incredible.

    May 8, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  17. john

    Mitt Romney is delusional.

    May 8, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  18. Rosa, b'ham al

    Does his self delusion know no bounds?

    May 8, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  19. Mark

    And this guy can say that with a straight face ??? He said to "let them fail". Now he says he saved the auto industry ??? He needs therapy and fast ....

    May 8, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  20. Richard

    "I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back,"

    How humble of him. And, he didn't have to even work a single day in the auto industry.

    May 8, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. vatoloke

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

    Belongs in 'Ripley's, Believe It or Not.'

    May 8, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  22. rika33

    Is it a surprise that he would twist reality to try to sucker in voters? He will say or do anything to gain money or get power.

    May 8, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  23. Wake up people

    Wow! This guy is delusional, he takes credit for something he wanted to fail, but when the POTUS takes credit for something he actually accomplished he is vilified. Un fricken believable!

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 8, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  24. Chad S

    Clearly, overlooking facts and denying the obvious has become a republican norm.

    May 8, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  25. Dean

    Every time Obama opens his mouth, there's a new low in dishonesty.

    May 8, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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