Auto union president says bailout was the 'right choice'

The article from King, which were circulated by Democrats, comes as debate of the auto bailout continues to be a central issue in the presidential campaign.

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney released a new ad Wednesday to discredit President Obama's effort to claim credit for the recovery of the U.S. auto industry. Romney authored the 2008 op-ed in The New York Times that was titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" to which King referenced in his article on Wednesday.

"In 2009, under the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors, Ohio dealerships were forced to close,” a narrator says in the Romney commercial, which features an Ohio auto dealership employee named Al Zarzour who said he lost his job after the bailout.

But King said his op-ed Wednesday that "[T]he decision to save GM and Chrysler prevented an economic catastrophe that would have thrown the nation into a full-blown depression, resulting in dozens of additional bankruptcies in the auto industry and across industrial America.

"Instead, today the auto industry is helping lead our nation's economic recovery," he wrote.

King said critics who argue that the bailouts gave too many protections to unions like the UAW "forget the significant sacrifices made by UAW members.

"GM and Chrysler prudently bargained new contracts with the employees (and suppliers) they needed to be successful as newly formed entities," he said. That amounts to good business judgment that is difficult to second-guess when both companies are performing better than they have in decades, he said.

"In 2011 UAW members approved new collective bargaining agreements with the domestic automakers that contain no raises but the possibility of increased at-risk compensation through profit sharing," he continued. "In return, the companies are investing in U.S facilities to create at least 20,000 new direct jobs, resulting in tens of thousands of jobs at businesses supported by the auto industry nationwide."