Mitt Romney's campaign has news for you: It was Romney, not President Obama, who saved the U.S. auto industry. This week, Romney's campaign manager, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the reason General Motors and Chrysler survived the recession is because Obama followed Romney's prescription to put the automakers through a "managed bankruptcy process." That means "the only economic success that President Obama has had," Fehrnstrom said, "is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice." Fehrnstrom is referring to a New York Times editorial that Romney penned in 2008, in which he called for a "managed bankruptcy" of the two auto giants. Critics were quick to deride Fehrnstrom's claim as "mindboggling" and "the height of hypocrisy." Did Obama really follow Romney's lead on GM?
No. This claim is preposterous: We have no reason to believe Obama was influenced by Romney's op-ed, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. And remember, Romney opposed the hefty bailouts that the government extended to GM and Chrysler, which were crucial in saving the companies from bankruptcy. In late 2008 and early 2009, credit markets were in a deep freeze, and private companies were in no position to finance Detroit's restructuring. Romney might have "broadly advocated the course that Obama followed," but "specifically condemned vital components" that led to the revival of the U.S. auto industry.
"The bailout Mitt suddenly loves"
Romney is just shape-shifting again: "Mitt Romney, who was for the auto bailout before he was against it, is back to being for it," says Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic. Once the GOP primaries got underway, he attacked Obama for risking taxpayer dollars, a popular position with conservatives. But during the February primary in car-loving Michigan, he backtracked, saying he "would never have let the companies go bankrupt." Now that the general election is nearing, he's "backtracking all the way," but only because Obama is enjoying the political fruit of saving the two companies.
"Romney on the auto bailout, version 3.0"
But Obama hasn't been honest about the bailouts either: "The Obama camp can't stop clucking about how he saved GM and the car industry," but the bailout was hardly a ringing success, says Investor's Business Daily in an editorial. The government still owns a huge chunk of GM, and the company still owes the Treasury billions of dollars. "Taxpayers have not been paid back and are still on the hook as GM continues to require government help." If that is how Obama defines success, it "speaks volumes about his policies."
"Obama pushes false GM success story"