Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today attempted to dismiss criticism of his complicated stance on the rescue of the American auto industry, telling a Colorado radio station that his position has been the same since he first authored a New York Times editorial titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
Since writing the editorial in 2008, Romney has both attempted to claim credit for the bailout and re-iterated his position that the industry should have been allowed to fail, most recently saying he would “take a lot a credit” for the auto industry’s recent successes. Those positions don’t conflict, though, according to Romney, who said he still has “the same position on the auto bailout” he had in the beginning:
HOST: You’ve certainly been accused of not sticking with one message, the most recent, your comments about the auto bailout.
ROMNEY: Well, actually, I have the same position on the auto bailout I had from the very beginning. I actually wrote about it.
Romney’s attempts to claim credit for the rescue, however, directly conflict with his 2008 editorial, in which he advocated for letting Chrysler and General Motors enter a managed bankruptcy financed by the private sector. “Frankly, that’s finally what the president did,” he said yesterday.
In reality, the auto rescue didn’t follow the plan outlined by Romney. The government stepped in to finance GM and Chrysler’s entries into bankruptcy because the private sector — including Romney’s former private equity firm, Bain Capital — refused to do so. Without the federal government’s bridge loan, Chrysler and GM would have been forced into liquidating, jeopardizing a million jobs and the future of the entire American automotive industry, as auto insiders, experts, and even Romney’s own endorsers have noted.
Faced with that reality, Romney has put on an extraordinary display of contortion, attempting to convince voters that he both opposed the bailout and came up with it at the same time.