New Democratic ad hits Romney in Michigan for opposing auto bailout

Using his own words opposing bailouts of American auto companies against him, Democrats targeted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a new Web ad this week.

Romney, who is among the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination next year, wrote a widely read op-ed in the New York Times in the fall of 2008 in opposition to the federal government assisting General Motors and Chrysler, companies which were on the verge of bankruptcy at the time. The article was titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

The Democratic ad, which targets voters in Michigan, released this week repeatedly uses a clip of Romney in an interview saying the same words used in the title.

“You wouldn’t know he was from around here,” the ad says of Romney, whose father, George Romney, is not only a former Michigan governor, but was also the CEO of American Motors, which he helped turn around in the 1950s and early 1960s. 

“This city, where American rubber meets the road,” the ad continues. “A town that’s been to hell and back. So what was his answer for Detroit?,” the ad asks before Romney’s voice answers with the title of his 2008 article. 

Chrysler and General Motors announced earlier this year that they were paying the federal government back for their loans, though critics noted the U.S. was unlikely to recover its outstanding $1.9 billion investment in Chrysler and its investments in GM beyond the $6.7 billion loan it gave the company.

The Democratic ad asks voters to remember Romney’s opposition now that the companies have turned their financial fortunes around.

“Now he’s coming back, again for our votes,” the narrator continues as clips of downtown Detroit are shown. “So what do you say to a man who would have put this city on cement blocks, kicking us when we were down? You say hit the road, Mitt.”

The ad likely foreshadows a recurring theme in Democratic attacks against Romney, especially if he wins the Republican nomination. Democrats have already made clear they see Romney’s opposition to the auto bailouts as a vulnerability in a possible general election match-up with President Obama.

Romney has defended his comments, saying that what ended up happening to Chrysler and General Motors is similar to the structured bankruptcy he was calling for his in his op-ed piece.

“When I wrote that the auto industry was asking for a bailout, we are unwise to send billions of dollars [to companies], instead – finally – the president recognized I was right, and finally took the company, in the case at General Motors, the company finally went through bankruptcy and went through a managed bankruptcy, came out of bankruptcy and is now recovering,” Romney said in an interview with CBS News in June. 


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