The 2009 federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler continues to play a key role in the presidential election, particularly in the critical swing states of Michigan and Ohio.
President Obama has touted the bailout as a successful accomplishment in his first term. Romney has argued that the auto bailout was not such a success. He says many jobs were lost — particularly in Michigan and Ohio — which have still not been recovered. The high cost to taxpayers can only help Romney's argument.
Democrats have repeatedly reminded voters of Mitt Romney's advice to "Let Detroit go bankrupt," the title of a 2008 op-ed that the Republican candidate wrote for the New York Times. In contrast, Obama's campaign released a TV ad in May calling the intervention into the failing companies "the right thing to do."
"Had we listened to his advice at that time, GM and Chrysler would have gone under and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the Midwest," Obama said of Romney in an ABC News interview earlier this year.
Romney has said that the struggling GM and Chrysler car companies needed to go through a "managed bankruptcy" process and that that is exactly what they eventually did. Obama's team fires back that the bankruptcy was government-managed, which is what Romney opposed.