Planet Gore

Obama Auto Czar: “I Did This All for the Unions”

In spinning its revisionist yarn that the Obama Administration saved the U.S. auto industry — and prevented industrial collapse — over Republican opposition, Obama 2012 has been careful to avoid talk of the UAW. We saved “jobs” — not “the union” — is the UAW bailout . . . er, auto bailout story line.

That tactic just got a lot harder thanks to the smoking gun uncovered by the Detroit News.

“Ron Bloom, the president’s former auto czar, knows the seven words you probably don’t want to say in connection with Team Obama’s taxpayer-financed bailout of two Detroit automakers,” writes News columnist Dan Howes today.”I did this all for the unions.”

Bloom has repeatedly denied before Congress that he uttered those explosive words before a rowdy, celebratory auto task force dinner in the (upscale, natch) Rosa Mexicano restaurant in D.C. in late July 2009.

“Trouble for Bloom, the president’s adviser for manufacturing policy, is he’s quoted twice as saying just that — first by his then-boss, Steven Rattner, on page 269 of his auto bailout book Overhaul and second, on Nov. 24 of that same year, by my savvy colleague David Shepardson, Washington bureau chief of the Detroit News,” continues Howes.

When Shepardson reported Bloom’s comment at the time, neither Bloom nor the White House complained or sought a correction.

Members of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform are not amused and have sent Bloom a letter asking if he misled them: “Despite your five denials” reads the letter, “two independent sources documented you saying these words.”

 “The White House declined comment to the News,” writes columnist Howes, “yet another deafening silence in response to questions probing the Treasury Department’s rationale behind decisions that used public money to reward winners, punish losers and fundamentally reshape the expectations of thousands of salaried retirees who didn’t belong to a union. It doesn’t help Team Obama to concede the obvious — that the bailouts were shaped to benefit powerful political allies in labor. Chrysler bondholders were subjected to arbitrary cram-downs, their secured claims subordinated to lesser claims from the UAW.”

Ouch. Yes, Bloom and his boss, President Obama, “did this all for the unions.”

The smoking gun is on the table. And the White House’s we-saved-the-auto-industry campaign slogan is shot.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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