By Keith Laing - 05/07/12 02:44 PM EDT
Since the bailouts, the financial health of the U.S. car companies been a potent political issue, looming large in the nascent general-election race between President Obama and his presumptive Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Obama's reelection campaign has sought to turn the bailouts into a political advantage for the president, who has become closely associated with them.
Democrats have homed in on Romney's stance on the bailout, using a 2008 op-ed Romney wrote in The New York Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," in which he said giving the auto companies financial assistance would be worse for them than allowing them to go bankrupt.
Romney has argued since that he was calling for a managed bankruptcy for the auto companies, and one of his advisers said recently that the bailouts were actually the former governor's idea.
For all the talk about car companies, however, the 2012 Fortune 500 list was topped by an oil company, Exxon Mobil, which brought in more than $452 billion in revenue and made $41 billion in profit.