Romney: I would sell GM stock
June 5th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney: I would sell GM stock

(CNN) – In an interview published Tuesday, Mitt Romney said as president he would sell the government's share of GM stock, even if that means cutting a loss.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee accused the president of delaying the sale of the shares as part of a political ploy to avoid a taxpayer loss before Election Day in November.

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"I would get the company independent from government and run for the interests of the consumer and the enterprise and its workers – not for the political considerations of government officials," Romney told the Detroit News.

The government has owned 26% of GM stake (500 million shares) since it bailed out the company with nearly $50 billion in 2009. At just over $21 per share price on Tuesday, the amount falls well below the $51 per share price necessary for taxpayers to break even on the investment.

However, if the government waits longer to sell its shares, taxpayers would lose even more money in the event that GM stock sinks further.

But Romney said it was time to let the shares go, a call to action Romney first made in a February op-ed–also in the Detroit News–in which he urged the Obama administration to sell the shares "in a responsible fashion."

He continued to push for a sell-off in this week's interview.

"There is no reason for the government to continue to hold (its GM stake)," Romney told the Detroit News.

Romney has long been an opponent of the so-called auto bailouts. He wrote in a 2008 op-ed that the industry should go through "managed bankruptcy" rather than take federal money.

"Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check," he wrote in the New York Times op-ed, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

The Obama administration did eventually force GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy protection, but the bailout provided financing that allowed both to stay in business and reorganize. Each are now profitable again and hiring.

Obama's re-election campaign continued to pound Romney over his opposition to the bailouts on Tuesday, describing his defense of his 2008 position as "outlandish."

“The simple fact is that GM and Chrysler would never have survived long enough to undergo a private bankruptcy without the federal rescue loans," said Michigan Rep. Sander Levin in a statement blasted out by the campaign.

- CNNMoney's Charles Riley contributed to this report.

Also see:

Barrett says Obama visit would have been distraction

Veep contenders in the spotlight this week

Biden to grads: Don't get cynical

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. Ex-GOP Con

    Would Rich Money run the country like a business? You betcha! He would fire the workers and give the CEOs obscene bonuses.

    That is NOT how you run a country!

    June 5, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    @ Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Exactly. Someone needs to call him out on this but that would be too much to ask.

    June 5, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. NotFooledByDistractions

    Romney, Ryan, Rubio, Recession

    Is he still talking about the auto industry?

    It must feel so bad to be losing by double digits in your home state(s).


    Actually he's behind by double digits in both states he lays claim to – Michigan and Massachusetts. That speaks volumes about his term as governor.

    June 5, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. FedUp

    I don't know about GM, but I sure hope everyone has dumped their Chase stock by now!

    June 5, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Ol' Yeller


    Okay, so who's the businessman here, Obama or Romney?

    You are right, Romney is the business man. So, if you need someone to run your corporation, he's your man. We aren't electing a Boss here....

    June 5, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    The government should have been selling the GM stock as the market went up to 13,000 but what the heck it isnt their money so who cares if it is all lost. Now that the market is going down on European recession fears (Spain and England) and never ending bad news about Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, etc. the fear is the USA is heading into another recession that will tank GM yet again because they have the same problems they did 4 years ago, bad product, bad management and onerous union labor costs. You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig dummies!

    June 5, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Jersey Girl

    @Sniffit: Romney is Deputy Doublethink....too funny, but you are right!
    @Myviewis: are you saying that RobMe has business experience?? Hah! His business for 25 years was only looking out for Bain and for their investors to make $, never the companies that either made it or they took apart, that was a side-issue. That is why he is still heartless, because all during those years he never needed to develop a soul or heart, ergo, a robot! That this guy is even remotely considered to be presidential material is beyond the pale! He is polling at around 46%! What is it with you people??

    June 5, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    There's a problem here Mitt. If you sell the stock at a loss you can't write it off on your taxes and stash the cash in the Caymans like you do now. You actually have to take responsibility for something. And we know you're not good at that. Isn't that right Seamus?

    June 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. kayla

    the stiff is all about making money for himself not jobs.

    June 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    @Myviewis – running a business has nothing to do with running a govt. Dubya had a business background and look what that got us. Yet the right wingnuts insist that business acumen is a pre-requisite???
    What about your idol Reagan... ?? It's amazing that after all the failed policies of the GOP administrations, you still believe that it's all about business..

    June 5, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. rs

    Myviewis- You are right- no comparison between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama. One would ship more jobs to China, and let "Detroit go bankrupt" (that would do SO MUCH for the unemployment rate. Mr. Obama has overseen an economy that has created more than 4 million jobs, at a steady rate of growth for more than two years. Something neither Mr. Bush (our other "businessman" President), nor Mr. Romney has done.

    When I want to gut the profitability from a viable corporation, I'll call Romney. To run a country filled with my fellow citizens, I'll go with Mr. Obama.

    June 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Sell now

    The Federal Government should not own any stock in any private business.

    The Government's holding of stock was just political cover to give GM more money that it deserved in a "bailout".

    GM stock is a loser. But for those that think GM is a great investment, they are free to invest with their own money.

    June 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. NotGoodBusiness

    Ok, so Rommey is running on his business knowledge. Whether or not the government should have bailed out the auto industry is a separate argument entirely. I believe that the government is nothing more than a shareholder, like you or me. The government is an institution that is funded by the people through taxes. If they sell now, ok, good for them. Who cares. Its a rough patch in the market, not an indication that GM is a poor business. The X amount of billions the government would receive is pointless, and it might as well wait for the stock to rise. GM is bottoming out in the low 20s, maybe it should buy more. No reason the government can look for returns (returns are revenues for the government that doesn't come from the taxpayer YAY!!!!)

    June 5, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    That's Mittens, cut-and-run, do what's best in the short-term and screw the long-term. He's such a loser when it comes to business!

    June 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. jane

    @ Myviews....The United States of America is NOT A BUSINESS and there is NO collation...It can not be ran as if it is!!!

    June 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. cali girl

    What does dealing with Bankruptcy have to do with putting food on the table for many American families?
    Robmey has no compassion to deal with people who have to decide do I buy groceries or pay the light bill.

    June 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. king

    hey business men knows one thing, and that is to make the few richer, at the expense of the poor. bush did it now romney will follow in his footsteps. yes he knows how to make a few select people rich by his experience, but his experience but he has never had experience in how to make the majority well off. thats a job for the neighborhood organizer. they know how to make average people strive, not just the few. obama had tried it the repubs way, of making these folks richer than their wildest dream, "since the repubs claims that government doesnt create jobs, corporations does", but they are not doing the right thing, let the organizer work with the middle class and start from their. thank you folks

    June 5, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @Myviewis: "As much as Obama had to earn his education and his social status it does not change the fact the Obama has no business experience, has never dealt with business investments, business bankruptcy, Profit & Loss reports, etc... which is very intricate."

    And Mittens' only experience is taking over healthy companies, cutting jobs, wages and benefits to boost the bottom line, take out a loan against the company's assets, give himself and his cronies huge fees then abandon the company to struggle under the mountain of debt he created for it. Short-term thinking for investors' gains with no consideration for anyone else.

    Thanks, but no thanks! President Obama's policies kept our country from going into a Great Depression, we've had 27 straight months of private sector job growth and the Dow (which was at 7,000 when he took office) is over 12,000 now. GM, which no private money would touch, is alive and thriving, along with the millions of supply-chain jobs it sustains.

    I'll take that over Mittens preoccupation with getting his own and screwing everyone else any day.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 5, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @cali girl: "Wasn't Bush a "Business Man?" And that is who we had 8 years with, wars and economic meltdown."

    Everything GW has ever touched has turned to baba-stinky. Unfortunately, he was our president for 8 years. It's going to take a long time to recover – and the only way to do that is to vote for Obama/Biden and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

    June 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Bottom line: Mittens wants to pursue the economic, military and foreign policies that GW Bush did, complete with hiring many former Bush advisors. If our country at the end of 8 Bush years had a budget surplus, a thriving economy and no wars, I'd say, fine.

    But we didn't – because GOP policies are all PROVEN FAILURES. Only a fool will follow Mittens down that path again.

    June 5, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Time to research and accept the truth about Mittens and all his "experience."

    According to Bill Bain, who started Bain & Company and invited Mittens to head Bain Capital, Mittens initially said no (it was too risky a venture for Mittens). So Bill Bain told Mittens that if Bain Capital failed, he'd have his old job back, at
    his old salary, plus any raises he would have gotten. Bain also told Mittens that he'd provide him with a "cover story" so his (Mittens') reputation wouldn't be damaged by the failure.

    In a nutshell, according to Bill Bain himself, Mittens faced "no professional or financial risk" by going to Bain Capital.

    So much for being some hot-shot business guy.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Yonni

    Please let’s make Mitt our president He want it so bad he will do and say anything to get elected. I am sure he had promised his dad one day he will succeed where his father failed to became the POTUS. No plan no how just humongous ambition you got love him.

    June 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. Romney is not My Hero

    @ Myviewis "As much as Obama had to earn his education and his social status it does not change the fact the Obama has no business experience, has never dealt with business investments, business bankruptcy, Profit & Loss reports, etc... which is very intricate."

    But he has dealt with running a whole country for 3+ years... which is very intricate, while dealing with people who have made it their determination to make him a one term president. This is great experience he will use during his second term.

    OBAMA 2012!

    June 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Catmandew

    Bailing the automakers and the bankers out was wrong! The won't bail anyone else out. Twice we've saved Chrysler now they have not learned yet how to manage their bussiness yet!? Reorganizing might have been a better choice. Government is not supposed to risk our money in the stock market anyway!

    June 5, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  25. Sydnium S. Washington

    If he'd like to sell GM, can he budge over for buying (the shares of) Eastman Kodak and restoring it to its full state?

    June 5, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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