Obama says he ‘stood with American workers’ in backing auto bailout

President Obama marked Labor Day with an address to auto workers in swing-state Ohio, telling them he had “stood with American workers” and accusing Republicans of “trying to rewrite history” on the auto-industry bailout.

“I stood with American workers, I stood with American manufacturing, I believed in you, I bet on you. I’ll make that bet any day of the week and because of that fact three years later that bet is paying off for America,” Obama said in remarks to members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) at Scott High School in Toledo.

Ohio is a key swing state in the race between Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Obama has held a steady lead in polls in the state, and it is thought that the auto bailout is a reason. On Monday, Obama reiterated his argument that Republicans like Romney and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were prepared to let the industry go bankrupt.

“Now think about what that would have meant not just for Ohio but America if we had turned our backs on you,” he said. “If America had thrown in the towel like that, GM and Chrysler wouldn’t exist today, their suppliers and the distributors that get their business from these companies would have died off too and then even Ford could have died as well.”

In an address heavy with sports analogies, Obama said that under Romney, auto workers “would have been benched for good. That’s not a good play. We didn’t run that play.

“Ohio, we’re not about to take a knee and do nothing. We weren’t going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.” 

Obama's address in Toledo came as his campaign played defense against GOP attacks that voters are worse off than they were four years ago, when Obama was elected. On Sunday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said as much himself, but he backtracked on his remarks Monday as other Democrats insisted the country was better off four years after Obama's 2008 win.

The auto bailout is something the Obama campaign regularly points to in arguing Obama has improved the economy. 

Democrats also have attacked Romney over a 2008 New York Times op-ed he wrote titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” claiming he would have allowed the industry to go out of business. 

Romney, though, has argued that Obama eventually implemented his proposals to force companies to go through a "managed bankruptcy."

Democrats insist the GOP nominee would have preferred to let the auto companies go out of business rather than invest needed funds.

On Labor Day, Obama also praised the union crowd, saying labor groups had helped build the middle class. 

“How many autoworkers work the assembly line like your dad, your granddad, maybe your mom, grandma worked that same line?” he asked. “These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck — they are a source of pride; they are a ticket to a middle-class life.”