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. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    This guy is such a phony! Following the killing of Osama Bin Laden, Mitt Romney said if he was president he too would have gone after OBL but he would have taken a different approach! Is that so? During the 2008 presidential race, we know for a fact that the killing or capture of OBL was a major part of candidate Obama's foreign policy agenda! But Mitt Romney who was aslo a presidential candidate in 2008 never once mentioned OBL or ever stated that the capture or killing of OBL was a foreign policy priority for him at no point during the republican primaries! Let's face it, this guy Mitt Romney is a first class phony and a fraud!

    May 10, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Squigman

    Nothing in the world is more sickening than the misinformed, going to bat for their oppressors. The two bit apple polishers that would kiss Mitts rear end, are the same people that would collaborate with invaders to garner trinkets and food. They'd sell their families out for a crust of bread. Quislings all. It's sickening to watch, and sickening to hear.

    May 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. PJ/TX

    "....the only difference was dragging the taxpayer into this mess.."
    The biggest difference was that Mitt wanted the money to come from private investors, but none wanted to
    take the chance.
    So, President Obama did it for them, something the empty suit would not have done. Now we are being
    paid back, have made a profit, American automobile companies thriving and jobs saved.
    Mitt gets zero credit and he knows it.

    May 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. luke,az

    Gov. Romney is delusional. He is at best a mediocre manager, who will be a puppet for the 1%.

    May 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. tumbleweed

    "GM would have survived just like Chrysler did."
    Thank you ! ST SGT Nostradamus.

    May 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. PotD

    The auto industry bail-out was started by Bush, how can Obama take the full credit?

    May 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. tykl

    @ Sniffit:

    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.


    To you Sniffit, I would say, Kool-aid. Put it down.

    May 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. GI Joe

    To flip-flop takes a day or two or maybe a month to change what you say and then flip or flop back over and over..

    To evolve takes years of thinking. President Obama evolved in his thoughts about the issue.

    Romney can't evolve because he doesn't think.

    May 10, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. W.G.

    Romney´s a lier , worst yet he´s a republican liar . They would rather see this country fall into
    ruins than help the people of America . The republicans are the most Un American of us .
    They pander to the rich because they are the rich . They continue to espouse failed policies
    in the hoes of fooling the American people . Their poorer minions are the people who are haters
    and bigots . Even their republican Christians will follow a non Christian heretic because these
    pharasies hate Obama more than they love Jesus .

    May 10, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Tony

    Rickster, Four More Years and the Door, etc,
    A bankrupt company needs financing to re-organize and come out of bankruptcy. There was no private capital available at the time. The banks needed their own government bailout. The auto companies would have been forced to cease operation without the government bailout.

    May 10, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Daveinil

    So Romney said "bankrupt" rather than "managed bankruptcy", BFD only to Obama and the liberal left. What is a more meaningful discussion is how Obama gave GM and Chrysler to the autoworkers union and that they are back heading down the same path that got them here. As sales increase, they are calling back the union workers at the old pay rates and benefits. They still owe the US ~25 billion dollars and in five years they'll be right back where they were three years ago looking fore another bailout.

    May 10, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. PotD

    How can Obama take full credit for the auto industry bail out, since it was started by Bush? Obama knows no shame.

    May 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Four and The Door

    Common Sense
    Four and the Door- " And American companies taxed among the highest in the world forcing them overseas to try and stay competitive. Yes, Obama gets credit for this."

    This is as ridiculous as calling Millionaires "job creators"...
    In fact the majority of new jobs are created by people with substantial means. That's what they do. Start and grow businesses. Small businesses are the job creating engines of America. They are not started by Fortune 500 companies.
    We need them doing that now more than ever. Raising taxes on them now would be economically stupid.

    May 10, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The only thing GWB ever started was the demise of America!

    May 10, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Ol' Yeller

    @ 2012 – BEND over
    "Interesting how all of the people screaming about bailouts have no problem with Obama breaking hundreds of US laws and using taxpayer money to bailout one of his biggest union supporters."
    So those 5 activist Supreme Court members just sat there and let him do this? Really, Bend Over?
    BTW- I peruse this website and several topics and I notice you post on alll topics almsot 24/7. What kind of pay you get for a gig like this? Do you have a Super PAC for Romney that writes you check? Have you always been against bail outs, or just this one? You are a schill...

    May 10, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine


    Once again Obama is lying through his gigantic teeth. Romney is correct in saying that the auto companies should have gone through bankruptcy proceedings. All of you air-headed democrats need to get educated. Bankruptcy proceedings are designed exactly for the situation that the auto companies that a company can re-organize and work their way back to prosperity just as Chrysler did years ago. Saying that the auto companies would have "gone under" is just not true. Had they not gotten their bailout(i.e. union payback) from Obama they would have filed for bankruptcy protection and been forced to work their own way out of it should have been. Ironic, too, that union contracts were a big reason for the auto companies going broke and then taxpayer money is used to bail them out thus continuing the corrupt democrat party/corrupt union connection.
    Who would have funded the the bankruptcy you propose, Rickster? Were there any banks with enough cash in 2008/2009 to do that? If there were I would really love to hear it. As usual, you are doing your anti Obama/union/American tirade. Now take your meds and go back to sleep in the Neverland you live in called Rightie-World.

    May 10, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. ShawnDH

    Ha ha! Go get him Mr. President. Mittens is terrible.

    May 10, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Four and The Door

    Rickster, Four More Years and the Door, etc,
    A bankrupt company needs financing to re-organize and come out of bankruptcy. There was no private capital available at the time.
    ...and you probably are naive enough to believe that. Exactly 1 week after the historic 2008 elections, who did the Big 4 CEO's sit down with to talk money with? Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Easy money and they knew it.

    May 10, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Ol' Yeller

    PotD wriyes:
    "The auto industry bail-out was started by Bush, how can Obama take the full credit?"
    Okay... so all these republican't schills on here who are blaming Obama need to start ponying up and blaming the real culprits... rmoney and dubya.
    Talk among yourselves....
    I think you mean the cause for the need of a bailout belongs to bush. Different things altogether.

    May 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Clyde

    The President is hardly one to be pointing fingers in this circumstance. How many times have we hezrd him say he was or was not going to do something only to shake the etch a sketch and do something else? I'm no fan of ANY Republican and will certainly support the President in November but this is a bit like the pot calling the kettle...

    May 10, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney has been on the campaign trail for a year now and the American people are yet to hear from Mr.Romney would he would do for them as POTUS! So far, all Mitt Romney has done in his months of campaigning is attack and criticize the policies of the Obama administration! Mitt, we don't need you to tell us what the policies of this administration have accomplished or not accomplished because the American people can look at these policies and decide for themselves! However, Mitt we're yet to know what you would do for America! And what is your foreign policy agenda? Let's face it, criticism of this administratin's policies don't help the American people to understand how you would govern and what you would do for them as POTUS! Pathetic!

    May 10, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. mms55

    everyone who's not republican knows he's full of it.hell even repulicans know it but they won't admit it.

    May 10, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Brigham

    He can't call him the flipper anymore since Obama was against Gay marriage as a state Senator and US Senator, was evolving as President and is now for it as President. What a joke. It would have been much braver and honest to have said he was for it the entire time but I guess it did not poll well then. People are not this stupid and I could care less who or what you marry but such flagrant and nauseating lying is beneath even Obama.

    May 10, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. tumbleweed

    RAY"American cars are getting better but still fall short of Asian cars in overall quality." SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE PATRIOT

    May 10, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Marty, FL

    It is a big deal. Romney's wrong decision would have let the American auto industry fail and go bankrupt while losing jobs.

    Pres. Obama's leadership provided the important resources to allow GM a successfully managed comeback to become #1 and save their American jobs.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 10, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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