May 10th, 2012
08:25 AM ET
11 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. Tex71

    Hey, Romney's own guys labeled him "Etch-A-Sketch". If he has a beef with anyone, it is with his own camp.

    May 10, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. yogi

    @ The REAL Truth... @ Paul.... @ Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.
    Great posts !

    May 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. scoobypoo

    If Mittens had been prez, we would now have only one car company (Ford).
    Thank Zeus for Obama!

    May 10, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Paul - Are you people kidding me? Calling Obama's stance on gay marriage a flip flop is ridiculous. To go from evolving to in support of is a million miles away from going from no to yes. Do you know what evolving means?
    Another totally uninformed libtard. Did you know that Obama was OPPOSED to it at one point, before he turned into a hate filled bigot that didn't support it, until he suddenly saw November 2012 coming and his support slipping away and then evolved at a record rate and just in time to cash in on millions in donations?

    May 10, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Michael

    Willard, is a enigma, one that he alone can decipher! He speaks like a repuglican, His past policies were liberal and his polical appeal is equivalent, to the last scene from the movie "Titanic." All those rich folks (1percenters) who have paid, to get on his ship for a journey to the White House, will sink in all, the lies, distortions, flip-flops, fables, misinformation and a economic message that is anemic or politically too extreme, even for Willard!

    May 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. EdR

    The truly disturbing thing about this is that half the voting public thinks this clown should be the President of the United States. But then again.. the same people thought Palin would have been a fine President if need be, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Bottom line is that if you voted for Bush, or McCain/Palin. Please take a look at what you did or wanted to do to this country, and consider just staying home in November.

    May 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Sam

    Romney's claim about auto industry saving and Obama's change of heart on gay marriage ARE NOT the same thing. Romney's issue was – he was going to let Detroit go bankrupt BUT when someone else did the dirty, risky job, and the results were good, he wants to take credit. Obama, if anything, took more risks now with the support of gay marriage, because whatever his reasons were. He didn't take credit for someone else's work!

    May 10, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. ja

    mitt is out of his mind to take any type creditfor the auto industry, and must think voters can't recall, furthermore, his backard stances, are of the rich selfish, and exculsive club mentality

    May 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. MaryM

    How many times has romney flip floped on his statements, views and even his own beliefs? Or maybe you might want to Look at his tax returns,
    oh wait, you cant because HE wont release them. hmmmmmm do you think he is hiding something? maybe in a swiss bank account or maybe in the caymen islands??? How many Americans have swiss bank account or money hidden in the caymen islands

    May 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    The REAL Truth...
    Why is it that folks like Four continue to swallow the hype that the 1% need tax reductions to foster creation of jobs?????
    It's bogus... it's infantile and 1000% INACCURATE garbage posed by folks with an agenda.
    The large majority of jobs are NOT created by the 1% – but by small business owners who DO RISK their own capital. They deserve the help, not the 1%.
    Most small business owners are the 1% and they are risking their own capital every day. Even moreso in the last 3 years since banks even with the tens of $billions Obama gave them don't lend to small businesses.

    May 10, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. EdR

    I give the President a lot of credit for not breaking down into an uncontrollable fit of laughter over this one. I mean it takes a lot of fortitude to listen to that and keep a straight face. I'm still wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes. Well done Mr President.

    May 10, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. acajunthatsagun

    "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.

    Obviously RoMoney had it wrong. What else does he have wrong with his plans for America? Whatever they are, I'm not willing to risk it.

    May 10, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. The Film Professor

    R*money, the Rominee, is just amazing. He totally opposed the auto bailout, but now is claiming credit for it. He is redefining "disingenuous". What a guy.

    May 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Chris R

    There is no problem with changing your opinion on something in light of new facts. This is actually what we should demand from our leaders instead of blind adherence to an ideology that excludes facts. The problem, the flip flop, is when you change your opinion for craven and base reasons – like garnering voter support. Does Obama fit this description? I don't think so as he's always been for equal rights – the marriage question was a tough one for him and he came down on the right side of it. Did he make the statement at a politically helpful time? Of course, he is a politician. Romney, on the other, claiming credit for the recover of the auto industry is just weird. He had absolutely nothing to do with it and his op-ed wasn't very exciting or a new idea. It was just a restatement of what many other people were saying at the time. Claiming credit for it is like him claiming credit for the sun rising.

    May 10, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. d

    Romney's statement is ridiculous self-congratulatory. "I'll take a lot of credit for that." Who says something like that? He could've said, "I'm happy the industry recovered, and the steps that led to the recovery are similar to what I proposed, because of A, B, and C." He'd still be taking credit for a bailout he opposed, but at least it wouldn't sound SO asinine.

    May 10, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. John

    Romney may well be a decent human being, but he has no clue what life is for most people, and he can only manage where his implied authority is that he can fire you outright if you don't follow orders. A POTUS must be able to do those two things-empathize with at least a majority, and compromise rather than dictate. A CEO is NOT necessarily POTUS material, and Mitt Romney certainly is not.

    May 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. tumbleweed

    Sorry Clyde, Romney OWNS the "Etch a Sketch." Do not associate that with the POTUS.

    May 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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