Desperado- Romney Circus Acrobatics on Auto Bailout

It is unfortunately true that campaigns of all stripes take liberties with the truth, but Mitt Romney has really pressed the outer limits with the ad below. Romney has been taking heavy fire in Ohio for his position on the auto bailout, and has desperately tried to obfuscate his original position. Even respected Republicans like Mike Murphy have tried the duck and dodge on it, but the truth, in this case, is hard for Romney to run away from. Lets review.

Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that said “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”. Since the political winds have shifted Romney has made several claims in an attempt to backtrack from that op-ed. What has he said?

1) There is no difference between his position and the Obama position because they were both for “managed bankruptcy”. In fact Barack Obama did put them through managed bankruptcy, but along with George W. Bush provided the liquidity that allowed them to exit bankruptcy and continue as going concerns. Mitt Romney opposed providing the necessary finance, and said so quite explicitly in the op-ed.

Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

Why the government? President Bush, and then President Obama, were faced with frozen capital markets. Under normal circumstances private equity might have been available, but as everyone knows (and Mitt Romney hopes we forget)the circumstances were not normal, and private finance was just not available. If the Government did not provide the finance then GM and Chrysler were simply going to disappear, and take about a million jobs with them. Our heartland would have been decimated, and we would have not only lost the jobs, but the type of jobs that have moved so many into the middle class.

2) Romney keeps insisting that he was for “government assistance” for the automakers. He has insisted that his op-ed piece shows this, and that the Obama campaign is misrepresenting his desire to help Detroit. And since the President rebutted Romney in a clumsy way in one of the debates Romney is using the fact checkers to buttress his claim. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romney has cited his call for “federal guarantees” for the automakers as proof of his willingness to help. What did he say?

The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.

When Romney and the President were mixing it up in debate Romney said he offered “guarantees”, and I believe the President rebutted him, equating “guarantees” with direct financial aid (bailout checks). Romney is correct. He offered to guarantee private finance that did not exist (see above). Guaranteeing a non-existent loan is not help, and his stated position, that he would not give “bailout checks”, tells us all we need to know about his willingness to save those American companies, and the one million jobs for American workers in Ohio, Michigan, and the American heartland. He can try to change, hide, or bob and weave, but the truth is there for all to see. Mitt Romney would have allowed Chrysler and GM to go under.

As far as the latest Romney claim that Chrysler would be moving Jeep production to China it is another falsehood. He has made that claim on the campaign stump,claiming Chrysler was moving all Jeep production to China, and doubled down on it in this ad. Chrysler itself has rebutted the claim, on its own website.

Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.

Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

Professional circus acrobats have nothing on the Mitt Romney campaign, especially on the auto bailout. He knows how badly this issue is hurting him in Ohio, and his desperation shows. This is a four Pinocchio claim if there ever was one.

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