President Obama hailed Chrysler's repayment of its 2009 bailout loans on Tuesday, taking credit for the automaker's revival.
Obama said it was because of his own action that Chrysler was able to rebound from its government-supervised bankruptcy that resulted in its acquisition by Italian automaker Fiat. It was part of a broader effort by Democrats to build political support for the president based on the 2009 bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors.
"Supporting the American auto industry required making some tough decisions, but I was not willing to walk away from the workers at Chrysler and the communities that rely on this iconic American company," Obama said in a statement. "I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did."
The president and his allies both seem to believe the rescue of Chrysler and GM is a big part of Obama's political arsenal, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) trotted out two former Midwestern governors, Michigan's Jennifer Granholm (D) and Ohio's Ted Strickland (D), to acclaim the Chrysler news.
Granholm homed in on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a Michigan native, for opposing the bailouts.
"If Mitt Romney and these other Republicans had their way, Michigan families, and Midwestern families, would have been left out in the cold and would have lost their jobs and their way of life," she said in a DNC conference call. "These voters aren’t going to forget who stood with them when needed it.”
The DNC also released a video on Tuesday morning attacking Romney and other Republicans for opposing the bailout.
"President Obama spent billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to bailout the auto industry," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney's presidential exploratory committee. "Mitt Romney argued that instead of a bailout, we should let the car companies go through a restructuring under the protection of the bankruptcy laws. This is the course the Obama administration eventually followed. If they had done it sooner, as Mitt Romney suggested, the taxpayers would have saved a lot of money."
But The White House omitted one item the Treasury Department had in its initial release: The U.S. won't likely recover its outstanding $1.9 billion investment in Chrysler.
Updated 2:16 p.m.