(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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seriously mitt! how can you take credit for something you were against? i guess lying is the only way to get votes but we, the people, won't fall for your lies.
Protecting unionized workers is now crony capitalism? Bank bailouts, sure, but protecting the jobs of unionized workers?
Add Romney's name to the GOP/Tea Party list of politicians (Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, Cain) who won't let facts get in the way of making a political point.
Mitt Romney is severely Republican. What else do you expect hime to say? He's *supposed* to take credit for the success of others. That is what being a Republican means.
Romney would rather attack middle-class workers with his union busting than save our American auto industry.
GM & its workers are #1 thanks to our president, who deserves full credit for his leadership.
President Obama 2012
This is an every day occurence with Romney. He lies every day. Even for him, his statements on the auto industry is a stretch, a big stretch!!
What a big lie. Romney could care less about the Auto industry and it's worker's.
Should we also give him credit for the sun rising in the East this morning. What an egotistical moron. The GOP of comedy.
Is Mitt Romney serious?? What is he thinking? Not only is this blatantly dishonet, but it's pathetic. This man can not be elected president.
And Al Gore invented the internet.
I would also like to take a lot of credit for the recovery, while we are at it. My views definitely helped.
The biggest tie that Romney has to the auto industry is that his father, as head of American Motors, helped drive them out of business.
Does this mean that I can take a lot of credit for Romney's presumptive nomination?
Yeah, yeah, and Al Gore invented the internet too.
This is hilarious.....Mitt Romney wanted the auto industry to go under barely three years ago, and now he wants to take credit after President Obama and the Democrats preserved the American auto industry which is now booming.
This is like Jeanette Rankin taking credit for America's victory in World War II.
The sad thing is, there are people out there that would actually fall for his lies.
Romney is the biggest lier I have ever seen in politics..Everybody know President Obama save the Auto industries.
Romney please drop out you sound crazy.
Romney, Romney, Romney. Stop! Then take your silver foot out of your mouth!
This man Romney knows no shame. He will lie out of every orifice in his body.
I don't recall Romney serving in any position of government while the auto bail-out was decided on and implemented. How is it that he can claim credit for anything? He had no input into anything and no authority to do anything. He was just one of the endless number of talking heads chiming in from the cheap seats.
What a disgrace! But I guess this is an etch-a-sketch moment. Lets shake it up MItt and try it again – this time tell the truth!
This is something that Romney has experience with from his Bain Capital days. I think he knows a whole lot more than a "Community Organizer" that has never held a real job. Perhaps the government wouldn't still be owed billions from GM. Face it not only are we still in the ditch with obama but he has decorated the walls with freshly printed Money. Give back the keys Obama you turn is over
Anyone who seriously thinks Mitt Romney cares a hoot about anything other than his own aggrandizement is delusional. This proves it.
Hey Mittens!!! Why don't you take credit for the lackluster economic recovery while your at it???
Rmoney lies yet again. Given the frequent and sweeping lies that fall regularly from his slimy snake-oil salesman lips, we can only conclude Rmoney is a pathological liar. And for the handful of rightwing extremists out there who don't keep up with the facts, Rmoney was calling for a liquidation (going out of business) bankruptcy, since there was no private capital available at the time. The President, however, arranged for a structured bankruptcy (reorganization) using federal funds. Rmoney the Liar is counting on average Americans not knowing there are two kinds of bankruptcy: liquidation and reorganization.