In battleground Michigan, the Obama campaign and its media cronies are ever-eager to exploit the auto bailout. The latest? A fact-challenged Associated Press report claims that “Mitt Romney (has) re-ignited the bailout debate by suggesting he deserves ‘a lot of credit’ for the recent successes of the nation’s largest car companies. That claim comes in spite of his stance that Detroit should have been allowed to go bankrupt.”
The news here is that Romney has suddenly taken to using the Obama Personal Pronoun “I” to suggest that he deserves credit for the sun coming up in the morning. Shame on him.
But here’s news for AP: Detroit did go bankrupt.
“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney said in an interview with a Cleveland TV station on Monday. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”
The difference between Romney and Obama is that Obama took GM and Chrysler into a Chapter 363 bankruptcy to protect the United Auto Workers with a massive infusion of taxpayer cash. Romney would have preferred that GM and Chrysler to go into managed Chapter 11 bankruptcy with so-called debtor-in-possession financing – from the government if necessary, given the tight financial markets at the time.
“Romney opposed taxpayer help,” writes AP reporter Steven Peoples. Wrong.
“The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk,” wrote Romney in the very same 2008 New York Times op-ed that the Obama Administration and its AP mouthpiece caricature as a call for Detroit to die.
What’s more, in numerous queries by this reporter, Romney has consistently hewed to a flexible line, saying that the federal government would have done what was necessary to keep GM and Chrysler – and its suppliers – alive while they worked through bankruptcy.
In an interview with The Detroit News editorial board in February, Romney said: “I would never have allowed the auto industry to disappear.” The GOP frontrunner continued to reference that line in the interview, adding that – at a time when capital markets were frozen – “if government financing was needed, fine. In a managed bankruptcy process, government could have provided guarantees, financing, and DIP financing.”
Romney opposed taxpayer help? AP is ignoring the facts. Romney’s nuanced position has made him no friends on the libertarian Right where conservatives have taken a more Darwinian line. Fair enough. But because Romney’s views do not conform with Obama’s leftist, bondholder-busting, UAW bailout, the Obamedia are distorting his views. This caricature is absurd given what we know of Romney’s moderate political background.
This may be a good politics to win Obama Michigan and Ohio. But it’s lousy journalism.