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. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There is something to be said for being patriotic. Romney is taking a solely financial look at it.

    June 5, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |

    Well apparently its not that intricate when you have demonstrated how to save a company vs Mitts so called expertise. People that still hate the GM bailout seem to hate a LOT in America and do not want us to succeed. Had we let GM and Chrysler fail, many of the part suppliers would have failed that supply the other major automakers too. A major 'game over' result across the industry. Its called the BIG picture for a reason. Some grasp it and some dont.

    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.

    June 5, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    Sniffit gets closest to the real point.
    Even a managed sale of such a large holding would force the price down at least for a time so why does Romney suggest it . SIMPLE.
    So that he and Bain and his cronies like him and them can buy cheap and as the company currently holding N01 global market share and making significant profits which are likely to grow, not reduce. Qed higher share value and possible dividends.
    Guess what he and his cronies get rich at the government expense, and pick up the 30BN the gov currently loses
    Duh, all this thinking makes my head hurt!!
    By the way does he alone have the power to make that selling decision without congress approval!!??

    June 5, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. Steve B

    Having illeglly seized GM Obama has been lying about its profitability. He did this to keep Union thugs in power. Todays recall election showed that the Unions have become the enemy of the economy along with Obama.Gone are the days of middle aged workers living off fat pensions and benefits that have been bankrupting companies and states.
    When Romney wins in Nov there will be a huge amount of corruption revealed and i expect extreme disgust from the average american.

    June 5, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. List of X

    Romney just wants Obama to sell the stock at loss so he can blame him for wasting taxpayers money.

    June 5, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  6. Mr. Etch a Sketch is a loser

    For a guy whose purported claim to fame is his business acumen, selling GM stock when it's low is about as brainless as it gets. What's worse is that it wouldn't be his millions stashed away in the Caymans or Swiss bank accounts that's he's burning, but rather our taxpayer money that would be wasted by this reckless blunder. It looks like just another pander to the Tea Party crowd, putting misguided principle over common sense.

    June 5, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. Larry L


    "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."
    Since when did serving as POTUS and Commander In Cihef of our Armed Forces require first-hand experience in
    business investments, business bankruptcy, Profit & Loss reports, etc... ? President Obama has so many leadership skills and a depth of character Mitt Romney can never hope to acquire. The President actually cares about all of our people and provides masterful guidance to our military – he has become the terrorist's worst nightmare.

    June 5, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. CRAIG

    Romney has never been right about General Motors so why pay attention to him now. He's not all that bright anyway.

    June 5, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  9. yogi

    Gimmicks and lies is all Romney can offer. The more I hear him talk the more I think what a coward this man really is, and what a disaster it would be if he got elected.
    OBAMA 2012!

    June 5, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. DDanny1

    Actually what Mitt meant is he would sell the stock to his buddies for a loss, let them put up the employees pension plan as collateral on a huge loan. Pay themselves HUGE management fees, then dump the stock and leave the company holding the bag.
    It's the Bain way.

    June 5, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Mike

    Romney would lay off his grandmother to make a buck. He says obama is holding the stck to avoid a poiltical backlash where Romney would sell it for a loss now. At least with holding onto the the stock it might gain ground and make the tax payers a profit. At least obama is willing to try where romney just wants to sell and take a loss. QUITER! How long would it take for a president romney to quit on the USA....make one think of a certain Alaskan governor.....

    June 5, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  12. Former Republican, now an Independent

    And this is supposed to be a smart businessman??? Obama is waiting to sell this stock as the government stands to make billions from the sale. Romney wants the taxpayers to take a loss just for an election year stunt. If the American taxpayer elects Romney, they will get a deal so bad that no hard working citizen can stand!

    June 5, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  13. fletc3her

    So much for having a businessman as President.

    June 5, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  14. TheTraveler

    "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."

    An inconvenient fact for Mr. Romney it seems ... The Obama Administration has done for the Auto Industry what Mitt Romney failed to do with Bain Capital and it's ventures.

    June 5, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  15. Kris

    Umm, of course Obama won't sell them for a loss. Because Republicans would then say he lost taxpayer money bailing out GM. Does Romney really think people are that stupid?

    June 5, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  16. Karm99

    Romney is just showing his "business experience", selling GM shares while the market is in a 10% correction.

    Are we not sure Romney isn't getting a commission on that sale......

    June 5, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  17. ksmary

    Debby, The reason GM and Chrysler are hiring and re-opening factories is that sales are up, both here and abroad. Check real facts from reliable sources, not just what is going on in your community. GM sales are up 11% over last year for the month of May.

    June 5, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    If Mittens wins in November, we're toast. He would institute all of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies which are all PROVEN FAILURES and push through austerity measures that will make the Great Depression look like the good old days.

    Newsflash, folks: Trickle-down economics DON'T WORK. Austerity leads to further recession because when people don't have jobs or money, they don't spend and 70% of our economy is based on consuming.

    If you want to kill us off as a nation, then vote Republican.

    If you want to continue the economic recovery and add to our already 27 straight months of private sector job growth, invest in our future and continue to lead the world in basic scientific research and technological innovation, then vote:

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 5, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  19. WachetAuf

    The assistance to GM provided by the taxpayers has worked much too successfully for rigid ideologues. To be sure that the assistance proves to be a failure, Mr. Romney would impulsively and prematurely sell the shares at a loss. When he enacts his promise, he will go to the taxpayers and say, "See, I told you so".

    This is a further evidence of the pattern and practice of the extreme right of the Republican party for decades. It began when the Republican party began courting the disaffected bigots who opposed integration of the public schools. Their pride would not allow them to acknowledge that integration could ever succeed. So, what did they do? They withdrew support from the public schools, creating their private religious schools. After decades of actively destroying the public schools, they can now tell us "See, we told you so. Integration has not worked." They are now telling us that Obamcare will not work. Again, they may be proved right. Why? They are doing everything they can do to destroy it. Why? For the sake of unproven ideology. They now tell us that the Democratic plans to deal with the economy will not work. Again, they may be proved right. Why? They are doing everything they can do to prevent it.

    The Republicans are risking an economic disaster because of their pride and unproven ideologies. The narcissism of the individual teapublican leaders is being amplified as it is echoed by the "herd". More and more the "herd" is exhibiting serious dysfunctional pathological symptoms.

    June 5, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  20. dan

    I'm liking this guy more each day.

    June 5, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  21. Ray In Phx

    All childish, small minded Libtard attacks aside....Romney is correct. The government has no business owning GM stock. Can you dolts spell "CONFLICT OF INTEREST".

    BTW...Obamateur is finished. Like Wasserman-Shoults said, Wisconsin is a trial run for for November. HAHAHA

    June 6, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. okiejoe

    Mittwit would sell the government's GM stock and deduct the loss on his taxes.

    June 6, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    @Former Republican for President Obama: "Some of you Romneynites need to stop and think and look into Romney's eyes something is missing, he has not heart, no soul. Running for President is just a frat boy game to Romney."

    Mittens is an automaton, capable of convincing himself of all kinds of fantasies about trickle-down economics and how wonderful our country would be if only we could give the rich even more tax breaks, deregulate all industry and turn Americans into just another third-world slave wage work force.

    That's what happens when you're daddy was rich and you belong to a faith that makes you feel entitled to everything simply because you're a man.

    June 6, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. GI Joe

    He'd sell the whole darn country to China - and I'm sure he'd take his 33%commission. i don't trust him and I'm beginning to believe it has to do with that cult he belongs to.

    June 6, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    I am quite certain that if the "Obama Administration" (because Obama himself can not sell the stocks even if he wanted to) had managed to let the GM stocks be sold at a loss, the battle cry would be "see I told you the bailout would not work and the taxpayers were going to pay for it". Romney is just playing both sides of the coin. He does what a businessman does, he convinces people he has a plan. His plan is to say whatever you want to hear, so long as you "buy", what he says really doesn't matter. Even Romney laughs at those who bow down to him. Because he knows what he is.

    June 6, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
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