May 7th, 2012
09:38 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney: 'I'll take a lot of credit' for auto industry success

(CNN) - Democrats and Republicans have slammed Mitt Romney for his 2008 view that Detroit should "go bankrupt," but the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said Monday his views played a big part in the auto industry's recovery.

"I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back," Romney told WEWS-TV in Cleveland. Speaking after a campaign stop at a metal stamping facility in nearby Euclid, Romney said the industry needed to enter a "managed bankruptcy" process in order to fully recover – and that was what eventually helped American automakers get back on their feet.

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"My own view is that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help," Romney said. "And frankly, that's finally what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy."

Responding to the former Massachusetts governor's comments, President Barack Obama's national campaign co-chair Ted Strickland said Romney was trying to "fool" Americans with his remarks.

"Mitt Romney may think he can fool the American people by hiding his belief that we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt,' but the American people won't let him," Strickland said in a statement. "His comments today that he will 'take a lot of credit that the [auto] industry has come back' are a new low in dishonesty, even for him. Mitt Romney seems to think Americans will just forget the past and his very vocal and clear opposition to the successful auto rescue."

Romney has defended his opposition to the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler earlier in the campaign, particularly while battling GOP rivals ahead of the Michigan primary in February.

In 2008 Romney penned a now-infamous op-ed in the New York Times with the headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," a piece that has consistently been used against him by both his Republican opponents and Democrats looking to re-elect Obama.

The op-ed argued that federal loans weren't the answer to ailing automakers, and that companies struggling to stay afloat should enter a process that would allow them to "shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs." Lending money to the automakers would be tantamount to destroying the industry, Romney wrote: "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

In February, he said that Obama eventually "got to the same place I had suggested" by putting GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy - but accused the president of "crony capitalism" by protecting unionized autoworkers during the process.

GM and Chrysler accepted federal loans amounting to $80 billion, though a portion of that came under the administration of former President George W. Bush. Economists make the argument that without the large federal loan, the bankruptcy process would not have been possible since the government was the only entity with the capacity to lend such large sums.

In February, GM announced record annual profit, and regained its position as the world's largest automaker.

Romney said Monday that opponents of putting companies like GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy stalled the industry's upturn, naming the United Auto Workers and Obama as obstacles to progress.

"It was the UAW and the president that delayed the idea of bankruptcy. I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was done and help was given, the companies got back on their feet," Romney said.

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Filed under: Auto Bailout • Mitt Romney
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Joi Gibson

    OMG – this just proves this man has no sense of decency or honor. He now wants to take credit for the comeback of the auto industry. The sad thing is some people will actually believe this incredible fraud he is perpetrating. He really disgusts me because this right here proves he will say or do anything to try to win – anything except tell the truth OR stand up to some crazy uber-right winger accusing the president of treason. This man does not belong anywhere near the White House.


    May 8, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Abraham Lincoln

    You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time. Seems there is no lie which he will not partake in.

    May 8, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Omni

    This man is truly sick in the head.

    What deal did he broker? What advice did he give to the president? Who did he call?!

    Do you know what would have happen to our economy if we had lost 1 Million Jobs in one day?! He would have destroyed this country!

    May 8, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Anonymous

    this guy will do ANYTHING what a slimeball

    May 8, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. AL In Palm Beach County, FL

    Hey Mitt, take credit for this:

    I just cut one loose, what color is it?

    May 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  6. mike

    thius guy will say anything...what a slimeball!

    May 8, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |

    Okay Im officially done w/ this guy.

    May 8, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. pit boy

    Really! Really! This guy they call Mitt, soon now then later he will tell American peoples that he Oder the seal to kill Osama Bin laden

    May 8, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. me

    Mitt Romney seems to think Americans will just forget the past and his very vocal and clear opposition to the successful auto rescue."

    That's exactly what Republicans already do so they probably assume we all do!

    May 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    You take the credit? You gotta be Mitten me.

    May 8, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. Mike

    A dog barks, the caravan moves on.

    May 8, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. Nick-o

    Thanks for the sound bite, Mitt. This one will be replayed over and over in late October.

    May 8, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. guest

    Even though I'm a hugh Obama supporter I was thinking even if it goes the other way Romney wouldn't be as bad as Santorum or Gingrich but this claim? My gloves are back on! Stupid remark on his part.

    May 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Debo G

    Clearly, this man is a pathological liar. He can say these things with a straight face, not even a blink and then look at you like 'what', 'what's wrong'? This is a disaster waiting to happen if he gets the White House. With his history of erasing government records and his lying, if you think government is not transparent now, just wait.

    May 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  15. Doctorwho05

    What a flip-flopper this guy is everything you hate about politicians, a rich lying worm who only cares about his political career, then the reason he was elected in the first place (Too Serve The People Who Elected Him) not his own agenda.

    May 8, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Omni

    Romney could be on FIRE and could say with a straight face that he's not.

    May 8, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. fred schumacher

    The breathtaking egotism of Romney and his easy prevaricating never stops amazing me. This is the kind of behavior that gives politicians such a bad reputation. I would be ashamed and unable to show my face in public if I were to engage in this kind of behavior. Romney must live in some alternate reality, one that his honest father, George Romney, never inhabited.

    May 8, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Paul Price

    The guy has no brains, no guts, and is a dangerous liar. He has many times said the auto industry should have been allowed to fail, and now, as always, flip-flops and wants to take credit for the success! Maybe he wants credit for getting Osama bin Laden, inventing the frost-free refrigerator, completely the undersea cable to Europe, and mating a monkey with a zebra. He is almost delusional! We cannot risk having this lying, cheating, flip-flopping man in Washington.

    May 8, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Ed

    The epitomy of hypocrisy: Denouncing any credit Obama deserves for taking out Bin Laden, and then taking credit for something he did when you were on the record as clearly against it.

    May 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. chrisnot

    What ever happened to dignity, ethics, and intellect? Lack of these qualities apparently does not hinder the career of a politician.

    May 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. Rudy NYC


    Yeah, yeah, and Al Gore invented the internet too.
    The young Senator invented the legal concepts behind the data superhighway, now known as the Internet, for his friends at Oak Ridge who had been using the "top secret" technology in their research for years to exchange data, papers, and memos. They wanted to use the technology at home to communicate with family and friends, and figured it would be popular. Sen. Gore authored the legislation that made it legal for that technoloby to made available to the general public.

    May 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. DonJuan1943

    Wanna-be President Mitt Romney is lying. Mitt Romney is not stupid. But he thinks The American People are. I will be voting in November for the candidate who had the courage to preside over "the bailout".

    May 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. MiketheElectrician

    HAHA, yea sure Mitt.. We have your op-ed and numerous footage of you saying otherwise. Sorry Mittens, we are not as clueless as you think we are. Hmm, will he also say that President Obama did this when it come to health care..HAHA, me thinks not.

    May 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. I saw it on FOX News so it has to be true!

    Mormons believe that when they die, they become THE God of their own universe, so it's no wonder delusion is a core part of Mitt Romney's view of the world.

    As for the American public believing it, I am sure that FOX News will have all of its viewers believing Mitt single handedly saved the auto industry within one news cycle.

    May 8, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. davec.0121

    This is a new high in lows when it comes to mendacity, even for Romney. This isn't even bending the truth, because you have to have a little bit of the truth before you can bend it. He has obviously been taking lessons in bold-faced lying from Gingrich, Bachmann et al. Not only did he have nothing to do with the rescue of the American auto industry, he was vehemently against the only way it could be done. No bank would or could lend the auto industry enough money to bring them through a managed bankruptcy. Had they gone bankrupt, they (and all the suppliers) would have ceased operations and disappeared. He also seems to have forgotten his prediction that we "could kiss the American autio industry good-bye" if the government got involved. Tell that to the world's largest automaker – GM. And as for his influencing the process – no one was paying attention to him then. I wonder when the American people will get angry about the way that politicians like Romney think we're all idiots that they can feed a lie like this and expect us to be dumb enough to swallow it?

    May 8, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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