Romney is claiming credit for auto industry’s turnaround

Article by Anita Panait, on May 10, 2012

Seeking to earn support for his presidential aspirations, Mitt Romney did the most unlikely thing – taking credit for the turnaround of the auto industry. Romney was one of the largest critics and opponents of the government-led rescue plans for collapsing carmakers General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. But on Monday, the villain proclaimed himself the hero on a TV news station Monday.

Romney even claimed that President Obama, who pushed to send the collapsing automakers into Chapter 11 bankruptcy for reorganization, was just doing what he had advocated. Romney told ABC News’ Cleveland affiliate WEWS, that he pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and “finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet.” But what he said totally runs counter to what he wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times, stating if the US government under Obama intervenes to bail out GM and Chrysler, the whole auto industry will collapse.

He also has been saying until Monday that the rescue packages handed to the two automakers were a mistake and they should have been allowed to collapse in a traditional -- albeit managed -- bankruptcy without being given any public funds to use. He has been saying that even without the government intervention, GM and Chrysler could have been saved by private equity. But the Obama administration was adamant to listen to Romney that time, and did, use taxpayers’ money to reorganize GM and Chrysler. The US Treasury released a total of $85 billion in rescue money for GM, Chrysler and their finance arms.

The result? It was totally off from Romney’s prediction, and the automotive industry is now flourishing. Romney’s Monday statement immediately received response from various personalities and groups, including the auto union UAW. Brad Woodhouse, the Democratic National Committee’s communication director, e-mailed supporters that the course Romney advocated was greatly different from the one that was taken.

He added that both former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama did not believe that GM and Chrysler would have survived without government help, which Romney totally opposed. UAW, meanwhile, issued a statement today underscoring the fact that the bailouts helped GM and Chrysler regain their footings, which would not have happened “if Romney had been the one making decisions.” [source: Autonews]

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