With the Detroit News editorial endorsing Mitt Romney but slashing the tires of his auto bailout position, it’s worth re-watching Romney’s big bamboozle on this from Monday night’s debate:
The key issue, as we’ve reported many times, is that government guarantees of loans to the auto industry — which Romney still touts to this day — were worthless in late 2008 and early 2009 because there were was no private financing available for the government to guarantee.
Here’s how the Detroit News puts it:
We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” New York Times op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets. In that article, Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them. Obama put a rescue team to work and they were true to the task.
Period. End of story.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.