May 7th, 2012
09:38 PM ET
6 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. LCSWquilter

    Can't wait to see Mitt Romney respond to this during the debates with President Obama. How will he try to etch-a-sketch his way out of this? I predict a lot of stuttering.

    May 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. RealityBites

    "though a portion of that came under the administration of former President George W. Bush"

    Is Kevin using Bush's initial, pre-union give aways, bailout path through bankruptcy to jutisfy his critism of Romney's mirrored opinion or defend Obama's path through cronyville that needlessly put the taxpayer on the hook for $25 Billion??

    May 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. sickofitinca

    Much to the disbelief of the people that are posting on this forum, Mitt Romney spoke just after the car makers were getting ready to go to washington to beg for money and said that they should go bankrupt, meaning that the companies needed to file for bankruptcy protection to be able to negotiate with the Unions and their creditors to get concessions. Bush and Obama gave them taxpayer money and THEN they filed for bankruptcy protection. It is the same thing; the bankruptcy protection should have happened first though because technically they do not have to pay the government back since the bankruptcy came AFTER the loans by the government. If you think that is incorrect, read the laws on bankruptcy. The debtors that you list on the forms at the time it is filed are written off or the debt is restructured, depending on what type you file for.

    May 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. fernace

    A few "rules" about "lying" comes to mind! Such as lying so much you believe it yourself or repeating a lie til it becomes know as "fact"! Seems Romney subscribes to both of these "rules"!!

    May 8, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. carly

    Romney has no shame, no scruples and is a flip flopping liar. Who would vote for this clown for president.

    May 8, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. K3Citizen

    Next thing he'll take credit for is the Internet.

    May 8, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. CharlieB

    He just twisted words like they all do, lawyers do it everyday in the court room and washington does it to lie to the voters so they can profit from the big money backers. Party does matter they all LIE for the vote.

    May 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    WIllard's mouth is moving again, therefore he must be lying.
    Willard the clown will not get a chance to re-write any history; we all know you said to let Detroit go bankrupt. Seriously the lies are would be comical if they weren't so dangerous. Wilard is like his buddy Jon Lovitz "I uh...I saved Detroit with my wishes for it to go bankrupt....yeah, yeah that's the ticket" What a clown. Why does Willard hate the American worker so much?

    May 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Gezellig

    Yes, and Al Gore invented the Internet.

    May 8, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. American 22

    Really Mitt Romney ? When I read this article I started laughing. Presidential candidates should realize that being dishonest will not get you far with American people.

    May 8, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. tet1953

    This is utterly ridiculous. "The President did the right thing, but I thought of it before he did so I should get the credit. Romney wasn't even in a position of influence, let alone elected office at the time.

    May 8, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Will he finally claim his share of the credit for health care reform, too? After all, he came up with it, remember?

    May 8, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Big Jilm

    Bizarro Romney is at it again!

    May 8, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  14. madmaninthemiddle

    He hasn't changed his mind since he changed his mind. That should be his campaign slogan. Ok everybody, time to reset the flipper clock. One day and counting...

    May 8, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Why stop there mitt moron-mney why don't you also take credit for bin laden and ghadafi in fact take credit for all of the
    President's successes and claim that it was all your idea. This guy is nothing but a common thief.

    May 8, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  16. Dan

    Too bad you can not run on your own record,you have none.

    May 8, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  17. Suleiman the Magnificent

    How can he be taken seriously? I think Obama can get real mileage out of this one.

    May 8, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  18. Sheri Lee

    You got to be kidding. OK Obama beats him in this election I wonder who he gives that credit to??

    May 8, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  19. ST

    "Go bankrupt and then enter a "managed bankruptcy" process in order to fully recover", said Romney.
    If this is what Romney thinks is the right way, will he let the government spend as much as it can until it goes bankrupt and apply his method for recovery?
    Folks, is this the man some think can make the economy recover?? Really??

    May 8, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. Sheri Lee

    Yeah Yeah Iraq had WMD, and there would be mushroom Clouds if we did not invade them. And they would welcome us in open arms.

    May 8, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. well there's that

    It doesnt make any sense. Mitt was too busy having Bin Laden killed to save the auto industry.

    May 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Gezellig

    Romney is showing a scary disconnect from reality. Like with his recent statements about that Chinese dissident. His statement were not just spin, they were just out and out fabrications as though they did not need to be based in reality. Maybe he figures the American people won't know the difference, but I am beginning to think HE does not know the difference. Scary....

    May 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |

    The thing I like about Mitt Romney is that if you do not like his position – he will gladly change it for you ! It is one on the rare benefits of not having a spine !

    May 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  24. Billy, NYC

    Mitt "Pinoccohio" Romney sure has fallen to the new low of honestly. Did you see his nose grow longer and longer everyday? Shame of you Mitt!

    May 8, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  25. Olurotimi

    Seriously? You cannot be serious! Are you kidding me? This latest revelation is shocking. I think this is the beginning of a downward spiral for Mit Romney. Americans are not fools. You cannot lie your way to the presidency Mittie. Definitely, this man cannot be trusted with our future because it is difficult to believe whatever he says. Obama 2012 for sure!

    May 8, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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