Repeatedly Pressed By Local Newspaper, Ohio GOP Senate Candidate Won’t Take Position On Auto Rescue

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who is running to unseat Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), couldn’t name his position on the auto bailout during an interview with the Youngstown Vindicator, despite being asked half a dozen times in a number of ways.

In the interview with the paper’s editorial board, Mandel continually said he would have “had trouble” supporting the rescue plan because workers at Delphi, a local factory, lost some of their pension and health benefits as part of the package. But Mandel struggled to ever enumerate an actual position on the vote when asked for a yes or no answer.

“As the grandson of a UAW worker, I will do everything I can in the United States Senate to protect auto jobs,” Mandel said. “But it needs to done under the umbrella of the free enterprise system, without the federal government picking winners and losers. And it needs to be done in a way without stripping these hardworking workers of their pensions.”

Watch Mandel’s full answer:

Mandel also struggled to answer the question in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, though he did manage to call Brown’s support for the rescue “un-American.” Those comments drew fire from the United Auto Workers, whose president said Mandel’s comments were “out of a cartoon or something.”

And though Mandel, like Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, may wish the free enterprise system could have saved the auto industry, the facts belie the argument. The private sector was unwilling to provide General Motors and Chrysler with the loans they needed to enter a managed bankruptcy, leaving government intervention as the only path available. According to at least one auto industry estimate, the auto industry’s rescue saved at least one million American jobs.