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. PTNY

    I'm thrilled that MRomney is so audacious, thinking he can somehow convince us that it was his idea, in turn repeatedly showing all Americans what a fool he truly is.

    May 10, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. Big George in Big D

    Obama's credibility is gone (didn't have any to begin with as far as I'm concerned) and he needs to be GONE! The man is an absolute loser and is dragging this country way down.

    May 10, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. once upon a horse

    I don't blame Mitt Romney for trying to make the claim he should take credit for the auto industry turnaround.....I blame the people that are dumb enough to fall for it.

    May 10, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. GI Joe

    RMoney is one stiff dude that I don't trust now and never will. He just wants the job so he can sign the bill to lower his 14.1% tax rate.

    May 10, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. jb1963

    Mitt should be in the circus. He can walk on dental floss at 1500 feet.

    His next feat will be to legally hire illegal aliens. he will raise taxes next and no one will notice. He will call it fees instead.

    May 10, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Al-NY,NY

    Keep it up Mr President. Since Flippy gives you a new bit of material almost on a daily basis, you'll have no problem exposing him to the thinking crowd that he is not presidential material. The sheep......well they're lost anyway so forget them

    May 10, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Larry L

    The man believes the earth to be less than 6000 years old, thinks contraception is evil, didn't know Czechoslovakia hasn't been a country since 2993, thinks Russia is our greatest threat, flip-flops on every issue, and has lived his entire live with a silver spoon in his mouth. He's out of touch with real Americans to the point where he doesn't even know how to speak without mentioning his wealth – the homes, the cars, the friends, and the offshore bank accounts. What would ever make people vote for this lap-dog to the Koch brothers?

    May 10, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Ilya

    I have noticed that the lower Obama ranks in the poles the more vitriolic are the comments from the liberal posters on these CNN blogs. Resorting to name calling and insults does nothing for their credibility.

    May 10, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    "I was FOR the Auto Bailout & FOR going after Bin Laden in Pakistan AFTER both turned out to be the right decision.

    May 10, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Taylor

    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

    Mark you so Louisiana

    you sound foolish, do your homework there is many of Corp. that don't pay taxes. You need to go back to the drawing board . Stop being a LOWER Thinker

    May 10, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Anyone who works in the Auto industry or any related field (auto insurance, auto financing, paint, parts, tires, gasoline, etc...) should really step back and consider, "Do I really want to vote for the guy that had he been in the Drivers' seat when this went down would have added myself and millions of others to the unemployment rolls?"
    You may not agree with President Obama on everything, but you have to give the President credit... the country didn't go under and had GM been allowed to go under... it is likely the country would have been in such worse shape we would have never recovered, or at least would not be where we are today.

    May 10, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. corpsman

    You just won the prize for the most factual errors in the fewest sentences. Congratulations.

    "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 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Russ in Md

    The only thing the liberals are not talking about is the $80,000,000,000.00 that the incoming administration requested the outgoing administration to do to speed the failed bailout process up. If bush didn't do it, it would have been done after Obama took office anyhow. Romney was right. The government should have kept its nose out of private business and let them fail on their own. The bankruptcy process would have taken place anyhow and we would be 80 billion dollars less in debt not including interest.

    May 10, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Kelli


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

    For you to make this kind of comment you are a just told on yourself.

    May 10, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. roscoe

    This is just an example of Romney being on every side of an issue. Any time the wind changes direction, so does Mitt. He needs emergency surgery for a spinal implant.

    May 10, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. pm

    Mark from Louisiana said: "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"

    Mak, you obviously don't know accouting or tax law. US corporations have up to 20 years to write off past losses vs. current profits. If a company reports $20B in losses for the current period, they can write off $20B in profits during later reporting periods. Once they pass the $20B in profits, they start paying whatever the current corporate tax rate is in effect on the net balance. Since GM and Ford are reporting record profits, the loss writeoffs will be gone in no time. The theory is that only profits are taxed and a corporation is a continuing entity not a series of one year events.

    May 10, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Alois

    This just shows that deadbeat obama has got the mentallity if a two year old kid. Somebody needs to tell loser obama if he doesn't have anythinhg to say to back up his huge failure he needs to keep his mouth shut. What a LOSER!

    May 10, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. ChristoInferno

    "shed excess labor & pension costs"

    Make no mistake, people. Romney believes in mass firings and NOT paying pensions to the workers who have earned them. You pay into it for 30 years, and then when you go to retire your employer says "Nevermind, we're not going to uphold our end of the bargain." It's backing out on a deal, plain and simple. Is that really how America should treat its middle class?

    May 10, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. pm

    Why doesn't Romney take credit for somehting that he did do, like create the model for Obamacare? He should be proud that his idea was adopted at the Federal level...not pandering to the Tea Party by acting like he doesn't know what everyone is talking about and bashing his own idea.

    May 10, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Four and The Door

    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 !!
    I'd bet the 200 million American taxpayers who are out $38 billion from this bailout would care. It was a bad decision driven by political ambition.

    So do you also give Obama credit for Ford's success?!?! I'm sure he would accept it.

    May 10, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. work4life

    What can you say about Romney? He will say anything, tell'em to jump. His reply "How high?" Romney is under the influence of others and pretending to be a candidate for president. He is not who he portray publicly, sadly.

    May 10, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. pkbkr

    wow! This Mittens guy is unbelievable.....taking "credit" for the success of the auto bailout? does he not think that we remember his opeds in the NY Times stating they should be allowed to go bankrupt? Mr. Romney, we are smarter than you give us "credit' for. go back and finish building your 3rd, 4th, or 5th house, and completing that car garage......!!! Obama/Biden 2012

    May 10, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Tony

    Obama 2012,
    The issue was litigated up to the Supreme Court. Not one judge found any problem with the auto bailout plan.

    Obama 2012!

    May 10, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Physically Conservative & Socially Liberal

    Unbelievable .... but I shouldn't be surprised about Willard's comments. Willard along with the GOP have no shame and have gone completely bonkers! I know what's coming next in another interview, Willard – "I'm the one who gave the orders to kill BL" ... I guarantee you he's going to say it.

    May 10, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    @Mark from Louisiana
    Uh, I guess if you totaly leave out the previous times Republicant's have bailed out companies and their corporate welfare. .

    May 10, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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