Photo: Gage Skidmore | Flickr
In last week’s flip flop alert, a top Mitt Romney campaign official tried not only to shift the debate on the auto industry’s recovery in the last couple of years. He claimed that President Obama followed Romney’s policies.Yesterday, Romney took it a step further. In an interview with WEWS-TV in Cleveland, he said this:
“I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.”
That is insane.
It’s one thing to attempt to back away from the New York Times op-ed entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” which Romney wrote before the auto companies received their bailouts from Presidents George Bush and Obama. Here’s what he led that piece with:
If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
Pretty hard to get away from that. But Romney has been shifting, slowly but surely, over the primary season. He has gone from the hard-line stance he took in 2008 to a softer stance today, one that acknowledges the bailouts have been good for the economy but that also reminds everyone that this is what he wanted in the first place.
This, though — this is an entirely new theory.
There’s a case to be made for Romney here, who advocated for a “managed bankruptcy” of General Motors and Chrysler, which were eventually bailed out.
But to take credit for it? That’s insane. This has already inspired a Twitter hashtag of ridiculous other things for which Mitt Romney could also claim credit.
The key point is this: Mitt Romney’s ideas weren’t original. Everyone knew the auto industry needed to be rebuilt and restructured, and that the old system wasn’t doing.
There was a major difference, though: The two major factions were split between a government-sponsored bailout and a bankruptcy using private-sector funds, which “car czar” Steven Rattner has said simply weren’t there. Romney wanted the government out.
Romney’s position on the auto bailout is one he could turn into a non-issue. Instead, he’s making it even more of an issue.
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