Mitt Romney told us to fact check him on the auto bailout during Monday night’s debate and so we did. Turns out, Romney had Romnesia again, and it looks like it’s getting critical. Romney didn’t just write “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in an op-ed, he repeated it personally many times. His attempt to take credit for the auto rescue has been deemed “laughable”, “absurd” and “only in his dreams.”
ROMNEY: My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks. It was President Bush that wrote the first checks. I disagree with that. I said they need — these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy. And in that process, they can get government help and government guarantees, but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they’d — they’d built up.
OBAMA: Governor Romney, that’s not what you said…
OBAMA: Governor Romney, you did not…
ROMNEY: You can take a look at the op-ed…
OBAMA: You did not say that you would provide government help.
ROMNEY: I said that we would provide guarantees, and — and that was what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy, to come out of bankruptcy. Under no circumstances would I do anything other than to help this industry get on its feet. And the idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry, of course not. Of course not.
OBAMA: Let’s check the record.
ROMNEY: That’s the height of silliness…
OBAMA: Let — let — let’s…
ROMNEY: I have never said I would liquidate…
OBAMA: …at the record.
ROMNEY: …I would liquidate the industry.
OBAMA: Governor, the people in Detroit don’t forget.
In the last debate, Romney said, “And one thing that the — the president said which I want to make sure that we understand — he — he said that I said we should take Detroit bankrupt, and — and that’s right. My plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven did and Macy’s and — and — and Continental Airlines and come out stronger.”
The truth is that Romney was advocating for private bankruptcy at a time when banks weren’t lending. Credit was frozen. Without the auto bailout, the auto recovery would not have happened, and this is why it’s absurd for Romney to try to take credit for an accomplishment of Obama’s – on top of the fact that Romney wasn’t the President and shouldn’t be taking credit for the President’s accomplishments, he should be running on his own record of “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
The reaction to Romney’s op ed proves that Obama was correct in his assessment tonight. Bloomberg explained that Romney’s op ed was “detached from reality’: “The piece drew criticism from Mike Jackson, chief executive officer of AutoNation Inc. (AN), the largest auto-dealer group in the U.S., who called it ‘truly reckless, detached from reality, and dishonest,’ as well as ‘very bad politics, especially in Michigan.’ Jackson, who has been a Romney advocate, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News the assertion that private financing should have been used to fund GM and Chrysler bankruptcies was ‘fantasy,’ adding, ‘Everyone knows we were in the midst of the greatest financial meltdown since the 1930s.'”
Where was Mitt Romney during the financial crisis? He certainly wasn’t here if he thinks credit was available. Romney argued against using taxpayer money to keep the companies afloat, but both Bush and Obama found it necessary after the Bush stock market crash of 08 to do just that. Private financing was not available at the time. The banks were in distress. Where was Romney? Romney is supposed to be the business expert — how could he not understand this? He made himself into a laughing stock with this claim in his op ed and now he’s trying to pretend that he had a different plan.
Romney has been trying to take credit for Obama’s auto rescue for a year, and for year, it’s been called a big lie. The Detroit Free Press called it a “big lie”, “Instead, we’ve heard Romney flim and flam about what he said about the auto industry in 2008. And now, incredulously, he wants to claim credit for the resurgence of General Motors and Chrysler, saying it was his idea to push them through bankruptcy. That’s obviously a lie, and a pretty big one.”
The Detroit Free Press also wrote an article title, “How Mitt Romney Saved Detroit, If Only In His Dreams” and the Toledo Blade said it was “absurd” for Romney to claim credit for the auto recovery, “When the history of the 2012 presidential campaign is written, the absurdity of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney taking credit for the rebound of the U.S. auto industry will warrant an entry all its own.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote in May when Romney made the same claim, “When the history of the 2012 presidential race is written, the absurdity of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney claiming credit for the rebound of the auto industry will warrant an entry, most likely under the heading ‘Laughable.'”
Laughable, reckless, absurd, dreaming, and a big lie. That’s our Mitt Romney.
President Obama bet on the American worker, saving over a million jobs and helping make all three Detroit automakers profitable for the first time in seven years and now Mitt Romney wants all of the credit even though he is on the record as being against the very idea that succeeded. Go figure.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.