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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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:

Romney adviser left after being silenced, source says

Ayotte: I'm more qualified than Obama

Gingrich steps up support for Romney, predicts Mourdock wins in Indiana


Filed under: Auto Bailout • Mitt Romney
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. russ

    the only auto companies mittington helps are the foreign ones when in the private sector he outsourced American jobs overseas and got himself paid big time for it.

    May 8, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Coloradan

    Wow, that is all I can say. Wow.

    May 8, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Robin Harris

    This is just too much. Eventhough the car companies took the federal loans that Romney opposed and recovered, Romney is taking credit for it. Wow this guy has a screw loose.

    May 8, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Are you serious?

    May 8, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Sorry, Willard, but with your plan, not only would all the folks working for GM and Chrysler lost their jobs, but so would thousands of others who make stuff needed for the auto industry. Your statement is as valid as you claiming to have supported the Viet Nam war by not being in the military so you wouldn't be in the way of the troops. Actually, that would have been a more valid view.

    May 8, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Jeff

    OMG. What next...is he going to take credit for killing osama? "That was my idea, I knew if I argued against it, the president would do the opposite, therefore, it was my idea."

    May 8, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. Blue

    Who in the hell would believe one word out of that man's mouth? Everyday he proves what an idiot he is. Our country would be in toal decay if this man is elected. I believe that he is about as silly as anyone that I have ever seen.

    May 8, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. Veteran for Obama

    Mitt Romney has taken lying to a new low even for him, he lies without conscious. How any american could vote for this guy is beyond my understanding. He will say anything to become president because "it's his turn", but you can't fool all the people.

    May 8, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. Kyle

    Wow,,, Unbelievable,,, I'm guessing Romney placed a 10k bet with one of his cronies that the american people really are dumber than bricks.

    May 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. George form Raleigh

    Black is white. Cold is hot. What Mitt said Mitt did not.

    May 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  11. CBR

    Governor Romney's need to step away from his comments about allowing the auto industry to fail is most interesting. His view that he was part of the decisions made by President Obama and the Congress is a bit self-serving. Obviously his ego is big that he had to find a way to take credit for something he did not do.

    Not at all impressive. Very much a factor in who people should vote.

    May 8, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Kyle

    Wow,,, Unbelievable,,, I'm guessing Romney placed a 10k bet with one of his cronies that the american people really are d_umer than bricks.

    May 8, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    This should be the top news instead of Joe Biden's supposed gaffe (which is no gaffe by any means). Willard is a disgrace and he will never admit he is wrong. Typical.

    He should have correcte4d the woman who said our President's actions amount to treason. TREASON! He ignored it instead of showing a spine to the misinformed Tea Party.

    May 8, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. FitchGetz

    Mitt "Me Too" shaking the etch-a-sketch furiously.......

    May 8, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Miss Marple

    Incredible. Well, really not. That man will say anything to get elected. He is running for president because he wants to be president, so he has no values except himself. Frightening.

    May 8, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. FelixCat

    And you can trust Mitt, because he's one of the job cremators. Have to almost his admire his boldness...this Big Lie is almost Stalinesque in its magnitude.

    May 8, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Independence In America

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!! This has to be one of those "etch a sketch" moments that Romney's campaign manager was talking about.... TRUE independents will see that this candidate is nothing more than a flip flopper, and even after he defended his statement and attacked the President for it, he now takes the credit???? Romney is a long shot in 2012. Im sure Obama will CLOBBER him. There is no bailout that can help him recover from that.... House republicans are next....

    May 8, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  18. Anonymous

    This guy is mental and needs to stop listening to the far right. People say Dems are weak (and sometimes they can be), but this guys brings a whole new meaning to the word. This cannot be what Romney truly believes and I would like to have the opinion that it pained him to say such a thing, if he has any decency left in him. His statements on this issue is a perfect example of the GOP's arrogance and complete disrespect for BO.

    May 8, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  19. steve

    It is disturbing how this man can lie to the American people and smile while doing so. He is bad for America. Period.

    May 8, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. Mike

    Is Romney going lose by 15% points in November because he says things like this! Thank you Tea Party/GOP you all have done a fine job picking a nominee!

    May 8, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. Jimm

    Maybe Mittens was dat dreaming about being in the White House during this interview?? Its certainly ot based in any sort of reality.

    May 8, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. Mitt Romney The Etch-a-Sketch Offshore Account Candidate

    WOW!!! When i read this article all I could say is WOW! If it wasn't so sad.. it would be funny. Can we really trust this man in the Whitehouse. He is a liar and I am not even sure he realize he is a liar. Who is this guy really....

    Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up. What the heck!

    Not even the etch-a-sketch can keep up with this man.

    May 8, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. Rationalintn

    This whopper will be followed by Mitt claiming HE ordered the hit on bin Laden.

    May 8, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Namryan

    Ok, now this is delusion. There is a clip of him saying to let them go bankrupt used by his own fellows Republicans against him during the primaries. It's been on TV for months! What is he talking about?

    May 8, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Michael Hobart

    Some people wonder how Romney can take credit for this, but this is unfortunately absolutely typical for Romney – taking positions on both sides of an issue depending on who he is addressing. He has used his governorship of Massachusetts as an example of his managerial ability, being able to work with Democratic legislators, while SIMULTANEOUSLY denouncing what he accomplished as governor. I used to think a lot of him, but I have concluded that he is one of the most outrageous two-faced liars in politics at this time. Sigh...

    May 8, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8