Santorum: GOP would 'give up the issue of the bailouts' by nominating Romney

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Since the Republican campaign has moved to Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday, Romney has been on the defensive on the issue of the auto bailouts because he strongly opposed the more than $80 billion the federal government loaned to GM and Chrysler in 2008 and 2009.

Democrats have hammered Romney for a 2008 op-ed he wrote in The New York Times, which was titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." In it, he argued the auto companies should have been allowed to go through a managed bankruptcy using private sector money instead of receiving federal assistance.

Critics of Romney's position on the bailouts argue that there was enough capital in the private sector during the economic panic of 2008 to help the struggling U.S. auto companies, and Democrats have made clear they see the issue as a political winner for President Obama in midwestern states like Michigan.

Romney has stood by his criticism of the auto bailout as the campaign in Michigan moves toward a conclusion, and in a debate last week in Arizona, he said Santorum has not been as consistent on bailouts as the former Pennsylvania senator argued he was Saturday.

"Senator you voted in favor of the bail out of the airline industry after 9/11," Romney said after Santorum criticized him for not opposing all bailouts in the debate.

"You also voted for the bail out of the steel industry," Romney continued in the debate. "I don't think I agree with that one, but I do believe that the right course for the auto industry was to go through a managed bankruptcy process and then to get help getting out."

Santorum said Saturday in his AFP speech that nominating Romney would make it harder for Republicans to compete with Obama in places like Michigan.

"We give up the issue of the bailouts" if Romney is nominated, Santorum said to applause during his speech.

"And we make it worse because he was for some bailouts, but against the one in Detroit," Santorum said.

Romney is schedule to address the AFP forum later Saturday afternoon.


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