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. claude shepherd

    i can't understand any body that works for a liven could vote for some body like romney that would let compies go broke put people rut of work we don't need people like that in the white house to run this country

    May 10, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. Anthony

    Romney did propose managed bankruptcy for the auto companies. The only problem was that there was no private capital to finance the transition. The banking system at the time needed its own government bailout. The auto companies could not have pursued Chapter 11 bankruptcy and remained in operation. Instead, they would have gone out of business completely.

    May 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Marty, FL

    Romney does not deserve credit in his attempt to deceive Americans.

    Romney was adamantly against the main resource that Pres. Obama provided to save our American auto industry. That is a fact, and Romney's wrong decision should be held accountable.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 10, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. ART

    I also heard that Romney was also the one responsible for taking out Osama Bin Laden. That Romney you just can't pin him down

    May 10, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. atl

    right after he "evolves" he is going to talk about an etch a sketch moment??

    May 10, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. A True Conservative

    Probably a government issued etch a sketch – after all – Obama knows that we need a nanny state to provide our every want and need!

    May 10, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Debby

    So what was the big deal. Romney said this 3 times in his debates also. Why is Soledad and the others laughing like hyena's. They looked so unprofessional and ignorant.

    May 10, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Mark from Louisiana

    Sure GM made record profits, it's easy to make a profit when you don't have to pay taxes. obama let the "new GM" carry over billions of dollars of losses from the "old GM", they won't pay taxes for ten years now. Has any other corporation ever been allowed to do that? NO

    May 10, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Has anybody ever determined how many US laws were broken or circumvented by Obama when he tookover GM, screwed the bondholders and handed 1/3 of the company to his union campaign contributors???

    May 10, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. don't matter


    this occurred in one of the many years (17 at last count) he was in politics but didn't hold an office. he has and has never had any bearing or relevance on any of these issues.

    whether you vote democratic or republican, anyone who is considering pulling the lever for an empty suit needs to have their head examined.

    May 10, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Wait for a few more days....Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney will say that "I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that President Obama now support same-sex marriage."

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney was for same-sex marriage in MA before he was against it, then he was for ObamaCare before he was against it, he was against killing Bin Laden in Pakistan before he now supports it, he was for deporting all illegals and the DREAM ACT before he was against it!!

    Keep shaking that Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney!!!!!.............soon you will run out of FLIP FLOPS

    May 10, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Sniffit be a good boy and eat your crow, Deputy Doublethink, or you're going to bed early without any respect.

    May 10, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Sheri Lee

    In a few months we the voters will shake off Mr Etch A Sketch. What ever Obama is for he is against, or the same if Obama is against it he is for it. If Obama said he was against Gay Marriages Romney will say he supports a persons personal liberty and the Constitution. Whatever Romney in a few more months you can go back home and play with more toys instead of playing I want to be president. Great Job GOP in picking this guy as your front runner. Enjoying the great Laughs.

    May 10, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Four and The Door

    But Obama's way, the bailout he promised, "...wouldn't cost the American taxpayer a dime." ends up costing the American taxpayer $38 billion. Extortion by Administration. Where's the accountability?!?! At the ballot box in November.

    Romney 2012

    May 10, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "right after he "evolves" he is going to talk about an etch a sketch moment??"

    It's very sad that you cannot recognize the difference between telling everyone up front and all along that your current position on something is in transition versus taking a supposedly uncompromising stand on a position only to later take a position directly contrary thereto. Nuance. Get some.

    May 10, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Even the sociobishop's own company, bain and steal from others, didn't agree with the flip flopper's ideas. All we need to do is show clips of him going against everything that has worked since 2009.
    It starts with telling Detroit to go bankrupt themselves to not wasting time and money going after the monster who killed 3000+ innocents on 9/11.

    May 10, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. TownC

    Mr. Obama, whose positions in his own words are evolving and who tells the Russian President he will have more flexibility after the election, calling Mitt out for this is ridiculous.

    May 10, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Steven Colo

    Poor Romney is getting tied into knots over this issue and health care. And gay unions.

    May 10, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Sniffit


    To put it mildly. This shall be today's top truth statement. Preach it.

    May 10, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Chris, CA

    People who vote for etch-a-sketch Romney are like walking zombies whose fear and hatred have consumed their entire body and whose brains have been gnawed away by the worms. It's unbelievable this kind of hate filled racism still exists among modern day adults in America. What a show!

    May 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. ncsteve

    Flip-Flopper In Chief! I'd say the pot calling the kettle black, but that would brand me as a racist.

    May 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Bob


    True, because 10 minutes later he'll think something else!

    May 10, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    @BEND Forward America – "Has anybody ever determined how many US laws were broken or circumvented by Obama when he tookover GM, screwed the bondholders and handed 1/3 of the company to his union campaign contributors???'
    I'd bet the million plus folks whose jobs were save could care less !! Has anybody ever determined how many US laws were broken or circumvented when Dubya and his cronies started TWO ILLEGAL wars? Obama got us out of one and is working on the other. I'd bet Dubya's military-industrial campaign contributors were more than compensated during his 8 horrendous yrs in office.
    See – just depends on how you spin it. Difference is, we don't use the right wingnuts amnesiac version of FACTS when we post...

    May 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Anonymous

    And Mittens personally capped Osama Bin Ladin as well while showing the Seals how its done. The guy's amazing!

    May 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Gurgyl

    This guy is pathetic, not fit for any public office, loot and cheat.

    May 10, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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