Millionaire Ga. GOPer Backs Wall Street Bailout — Not Detroit’s

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A multi-millionaire Georgia Republican Senate candidate wanted to be clear at a recent campaign event: He’s against the autoworker bailout but is for the Wall Street bailout.

During an appearance at the Fayette County GOP in Georgia early in January, David Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General who is now running for outgoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), was asked by a woman in the audience about “corporate welfare.” The woman asked about Delta Airlines terminating pensions for employees before going on to merge with Northwest Airlines. In response, Perdue argued that some bailouts can be good, like the Wall Street bailout, while others are a bad idea, like the bailout of the Detroit autoworkers.

“I believe in capitalism. I believe when companies fail, there are bankruptcy laws to deal with that. I do not support the bailout of Detroit.” Perdue said.

But, Perdue continued, he did oppose certain other government bailout, like the one that saved the auto industry. That bailout, Perdue argued, was “basically a union buyout.”

“Now the liquidity that we put into the financial system, we got a return on that,” “That money came back to us. Because it was a decent investment and it came back to us.”

Weighing in on bailouts has gotten Republicans into trouble before. One other moneymaker-turned-politician, Mitt Romney, repeatedly tied himself in knots over first arguing against a government bailout of Detroit’s big three automakers. Later though the 2012, Republican presidential nominee moved away from his position and argued that he would never do anything “to hurt the U.S. auto industry.” The problem is, the auto bailout is widely understood to have saved the auto industry — with even The Economist apologizing for backing Romney’s original position. In a similar light, the 2008 bailout and additional regulation of Wall Street is considered to have saved the country’s financial sector.

Perdue’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM.

(Photo credit: David Perdue for Senate)

Watch the video of Perdue below:

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