Romney campaign: Obama auto bailout criticism a distraction from the economy

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Obama has attacked Romney often for his stance on the $80 billion in loans that were given to Chrysler and General Motors in 2008 and 2009. He often references a 2008 op-ed Romney wrote in The New York Times that was titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

On the first day of a bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania dubbed the “Betting on America” tour, the president pressed the auto bailout argument against Romney again.

"When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, and more than 1 million American jobs were on the line, Gov. Romney said we [should] just let Detroit go bankrupt," Obama said Thursday afternoon. 

"I refused to turn my back on communities like this one. I was betting on the American worker and I was betting on American industry,” he continued. “And three years later, the American auto industry is coming roaring back." 

The back and forth about the auto bailouts on Thursday came amid recent reports that the U.S. auto companies experienced their best sales in June since 2007. Obama is pointing to that recent success ahead of a June jobs report that is expected Friday that could bring more bad economic news.

Critics of the bailout often note that the federal government has not recovered all of the nearly $80 billion it loaned to General Motors and Chrysler in 2008. The government still owns shares in GM, despite its strong financial performance since the bailouts, leading some conservatives to derisively refer to the company as "Government Motors."