May 10th, 2012
08:25 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama hits Romney with 'Etch A Sketch'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama labeled presumptive challenger Mitt Romney's comments that took credit for the auto industry's recovery as an "Etch A Sketch moment."

"I think this is one of his Etch A Sketch moments. I don't think anybody takes that seriously," Obama said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired Thursday, referencing the now infamous language used by a top Romney adviser in March.

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On Monday, Romney said "I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back."

The former Massachusetts governor and all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee said it was his view that the auto companies should go through a managed bankruptcy before government intervention.

"And frankly, that's finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy," Romney told WEWS-TV in Cleveland.

However, in 2008 Romney penned an op-ed in the New York Times with the headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" that is often cited by Democrats and the Obama re-election campaign as proof Romney would have allowed General Motors and Chrysler to fail.

"People remember his position, which was let's let Detroit go bankrupt," Obama said in Thursday's interview. "Had we followed his advice at that time, Chrysler would have gone under and we would have lost a million jobs throughout the Midwest."

Romney's op-ed argued against federal loans for ailing automakers, and instead suggested a process that would allow them to "shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs."

"If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye," Romney wrote.

More recently he said Obama "got to the same place I had suggested" by putting the companies through bankruptcy. But he also accused the president of "crony capitalism" because of protections issued to unionized autoworkers during the process.

GM and Chrysler accepted $80 billion in federal loans as part of the auto bailout, a portion of which came under the George W. Bush administration. Economists argue the federal loan ensured a successful bankruptcy process.

In February, GM announced record annual profit, and regained its position as the world's largest automaker.

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. macrasta

    take the gloves off Mr President.. take the gloves off!~

    May 10, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |

    Definitely a etch a sketch moment. Willard is so lame.

    May 10, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  3. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Romney seems to like ridings the tail of Obamas sucessful programs because he has none of his own ,and couldn't even get relected govoner of mass. Five time loser in elections.

    May 10, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  4. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    The auto situation was just one of a series of constant etch a sketch moments Willard has entertained us all with. And, no – nobody takes Willard's claims seriously. Healthcare should have Mittens shaking his etch a sketch at a fever pitch once the debates roll around.
    He claims he knows how to fix the economy, funny stuff from a guy who was Gov 47th in job growth, has shown that vulture capitalism only works to line his pockets while putting American workers out on the street, and whose only "job" in 6 years has been to campaign.

    May 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  5. king

    Mitten could etch a sketch as much as he wants to, but mitten is a coward who is terrified that the tea bagged will primary him if he doesn't do everything they wants. This country will be like European style austerity movements on steroid. This will kill the spenders confidents, and big businesses will run to China.

    May 10, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  6. Sandy

    LOL. Etch A Sketch won't work, Romney!

    May 10, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. jim rodriguez

    Obama is a super loser and needs to get out of the white house.
    We don't want $10 a gallon gas or any more empty promises.
    Vote Romney 2012.
    Don't hate him because he lives the american dream that any one in the world would live if they could. He worked for it. So stop hating!

    May 10, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. John

    Let's see, Obama was for gay marriage, before he was against it, then he was for it again, before he was against it and supported "gay unions instead", now he is for it again? And he says Mitt Romney is the flip flopper?

    May 10, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Anon-i-mouse

    How can anytone think Romney will make a good president. Clearly he says or does whatever he thinks will get him votes. He changes like the wind and will be a dangerous leader to have in these crazy times. We need a thoughful, steady hand at this moment, and Obama has shown that he can keep things together even as the entire world is currently in financial and political turmoil.

    May 10, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. Dave

    Given how Romney behaved during the primaries, nothing this arrogant clown spews surprises me anymore. I'm very happy to see Obama is hitting back Romney's lies and flip-flopping. Lord knows the media has given Romney a free ride for far too long.

    May 10, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    It was the Unions that basically Bankrupted the American Auto Companies. The Unions raked in money, the Auto Companies paid the Unions instead of building good cars. The Unions Etch-a-Skeched themselves. American cars are getting better but still fall short of Asian cars in overall quality. When you have a record to run on, you either tout it or mis-direct the conversation. The people are going to Etch-a-Sketch the Obummer Adminstration in November.

    May 10, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. enough already

    People seem to forget that Ford was in the same dire straits as GM and Chrysler. They did not accept a bailout, and have managed to turn things around. You have to wonder how "critical" the bailouts were.

    May 10, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. tykl

    This is coming in the same interview where Obama Flip-Flopped?

    May 10, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. PaMom

    the actions of a desperate man. Believe him? No way. He wouldn't address this issues for 3 years so what is the difference....A pending election!

    May 10, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  15. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    The closest Romney will ever get to the White House is the day after Obama wins his re-election, he takes his dog out on the White House lawn for a walk and to greet the Press and stops to scoop the poop his dog makes with a newspaper with Willard’s name on the front declaring, "Obama Wins Re-election while Romney Loses bid for White House."

    May 10, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think this is one of his Etch A Sketch moments. I don't think anybody takes that seriously,"
    No one takes this clown seriously Mr. President.

    May 10, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. vatoloke

    If it's about bankruptcy, you bet Willy Chameleon can get credit. Just ask the ex-employees of the companies Bain Corp. let go bankrupt and/or out of the country to places like China, Pakistan, India, Dom. Republic, etc. etc. etc.

    May 10, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Here's a quote from the Arizona Republican debates to further address Mitt's willingness to let the auto industry shrivel up:

    "He [Romney] supported the folks on Wall Street and bailed out Wall Street – was all for it – and when it came to the auto workers and the folks in Detroit, he said 'no'. – Rick Santorum

    Mitt Romney lives his own little world of reality in complete oblivion to the truth.

    May 10, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  19. Dj Rhyme

    Once again... The "mad republican" Mitt is mad that the public is giving the president the credit for the auto industry and not him..

    May 10, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  20. Indyswimmer66

    Remember this voters at election time, this is real! Romney really said... and believes this! "let's let Detroit go bankrupt,"

    May 10, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. David in FL

    He is glass houses should not throw stones anti/pro super pac anti/pro gay marriage pro/anti business Pres.

    May 10, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Back in 2008 Mitt Romney suggested that the auto makers should be allowed to liquidate and be sold to the highest bidder. Romney was quite clear on that point. There is a big difference between "bankrupt" and "bankruptcy". The latter is a process that moves you forward, the former means the end of existence. End of story.

    May 10, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  23. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Nobody takes Romney seriously. He's the latest un-funny joke the GOPers have come up with.

    May 10, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Ed1

    I hate to say this but Obama has no room to dish other people he has flip flopped so many times I don't think we would be able to add them all up.

    Obama is to busy trying to be a rock star and first against gay marriage and now for it that's right it's an election year go get them tiger.

    May 10, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. ITGUY

    Lol, Romney is an empty suit. I don't agree with everything the Pres has done but I can't vote for a guy like that, I just can't. He has to know he wrote an OPED IN THE FREAKIN NEWSPAPER!? Saying let them go bankrupt. He's an empty suit.

    May 10, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
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