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. enuff

    And you'd let Detroit go bankrupt, fire everyone and watch your cronies make a profit from GM's demise as they hide their profits in the Cayman's.

    June 5, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. g

    one thing for sure, there would not be nothing left of america if romney was president to fight for -

    June 5, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. Indy

    What a Bainful idea Mitts has, he wants Obama to sell so he and his bazillionaire friends can buy up the shares and make a profit in a couple years, just like the old days for Mitts. He has spend millions of dollars and wasted seven years trying to buy the Whitehouse and now he wants Obama to dump the stock at a loss so his blind trust fund can buy them all up. For all those who thinks GM only sells in the US wake up, they are doing just fine selling GM products in many other countries

    June 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. Squigman

    Think about this: While GM stock may be lower in price from it's IPO, it is paying dividends to the government. It's paying better than any other account would pay, so the government is making money, regardless of price.

    June 5, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. george of the jungle

    if being in business is a preriqusit for president then Kennedy would not have been allowed to run or reagan or half the people that have been presidents. It is a stupid idea. If a person is smart it is much more important. Mitt has no experience in politics except governor and he was never there. It is obvious that out side of business he has no ideas on his own and waits to be told what to do. He tries to appeal to everyone by saying what they want to hear. Hence a flip flopper. Anyone with money gets his attention and can tell him what to do.

    June 5, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. Sandy


    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,"

    Why does he need business experience when he's running a country and not a business. Community Organizer, which helps him understand people and communities, lawyer, professor and senator. Obama has more experience experience than Romney, especially at at the most important thing, being President.

    June 5, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. Sandy

    To correct my last post:

    Why does he need business experience when he's running a country and not a business? Community Organizer, which helps him understand people and communities, lawyer, professor and senator. Obama has more experience than Romney, especially at at the most important thing, being President.

    June 5, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Catmandew

    Marie MD ,I have news for you! Detroit is already bankrupt so it really does not matter. That city has drained my state of money for years. The state gave GM and Chrysler every tax break they wanted and they still went belly up! Now they are government funded unfair to all other automakers like FORD !

    June 5, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  9. ReaganDem

    The real Romney constantly makes the mistake of showing his true colors. Oh what to do? He is going to become more and more transparent and clearly flawed as the election nears. Romney is a lot things, but the question is what is he and what are his driving principles and experienc besides making money which is not the same as creating jobs.

    June 5, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. ben

    Running the country is not the same as running a business. I guess Mittens plans to fire all the poor people by deporting them if he wins.

    June 5, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. snowdogg

    Romney is such a pathetic example of the type of candidates the GOP fields... selfish for himself and his "buddies"

    June 5, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. OCCalif.Voter

    Oh my. You heard it folks. Ronmey is ready to sell our country bit by bit. Do you really want this guy for our resident? I don't. Please people those people who disagree Obama....Obama has never said he would sell our US commodities off but Ronmey would to make a profit an make Americans working slaves (middle-class and poor) that means you too the ones who hate Obama because he's African American. Don't let Ronmey sell our country out to the highest bidder. Those who do vote this Ronmey in to office will regret it for the rest of your lives.

    June 5, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. GordyB

    That's why the president has advisors

    June 5, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  14. EnlightenMe

    To my conservative friends, since 'job creators' have spent the last 30 years outsourcing jobs to China, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, and Brazil, I'd love to know where you think the jobs in the future will come from? America's steel, electronics, and textile industries have been offshored for good, and technology is easily outsourced as well.

    I'm an independent – completely open to ideas. An intelligent answer would be great, or you could just stick with the standard 'Obama is a socialist' line instead.

    June 5, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. DocHollywood

    Of course he'd sell the stock. He didn't want GM around to begin with. Hell, he's sell the republican party if he could make a dime off of them.

    June 5, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. Cheryl Jefferies

    Good for him! That might bring in a little money. And, the GM union thugs who rule Obama should pay the tax-payers back what they owe us for Obama bailing them out. 'Cause, it was the unions that really got bailed out. Not GM. GM could have re-structured under existing bankruptcy laws, survived and saved us all a TON of money. Of course, that would have meant re-structuring the union fat cash cow, too. But, no. Obama had to save his union thug cronies. So, good for Romney!

    June 5, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. fernace

    We have all heard the policy changes & ideas promoted by Romney & his GOTP crew & there is very little in it for the average American! It's all geared to help the Bigs (biz, rich, oil)! In fact the average American would be better off living in a recession than accepting what Romney has in mind for us! Forward w/Obama or Back to 1912 w/Romney!!

    June 5, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  18. Jon

    You mean when the common tax payer has actually started to profit from the bailout he wants to sell the stock. I hope it isn't to foreign countries.

    June 5, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  19. Zedlok

    I thought Mr. Romney wanted to "run government like a business"? And yet he wants to take a loss based on some principle? Not very practical if you ask me.

    June 5, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. sure thats what they say

    Wow, looks to me like Romney is thinking he might lose, so now he wants the government to sell its shares to Bain Capitol so they can tear the company apart, break the union and ship the production of GM products overseas.

    June 5, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |

    Mitt is out of touch with his "home state" and America. GM is small potatoes compared to other issues. And frankly the bailout worked Mitt. You must have not gotten the memo on that. Indeed Mitts "financial expertise" is NOT SHOWING.

    June 5, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. smc

    Yes, and Romney would sell our country to China too. Nothing new here.

    June 5, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. craig

    Of course he would sell. He's all about himself, and if he can't make an immediately return, he's OUTA THERE! Move on, rape another company, dismantle the assets, fire the employees (he likes to do that) and take his own millions to the overseas bank!

    Fortunately we have a President who is willing to make investments in the long term interests of our society. Therein is one major difference between these two men. Of course, given that Romney lies and continually reverses his positions, it's nearly impossible to determine exactly where he stands on anything, but on issues involving money it's real simple: If it's good for him, and for his 1% friends, that's where he stands.

    June 5, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  24. Innocent Observer

    Seems to me that almost all the postings here are rather shallow arguments, off-point comments, name calling, baseless assertions designed to inflame, defame, insult or demean the other side.
    Extremists of one side will never 'turn' any extremist of the other side, and neither side of these extremist exchanges are at all persuasive to me – a person not happy with either major presidential candidate.
    Thank our lucky stars our future will not be decided by radicals of either extreme.
    If only there were a forum where sane, balanced, well-informed, mutually respectful political discussion can be had.
    Apparently not here.

    June 5, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  25. Artr

    There is one Wisconsin exit poll that shows people trust Obama more than Romney with the economy. I've seen other polls that have them about equal. Other polls show that Bush is more to blame for the current economic situation than Obama.. This is surprising since Romney proclaims himself as the business expert. Perhaps the electorate hasn't yet discovered that Romney has a solution for every economic problem imaginable.

    June 5, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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