David Letterman says that the president was misrepresenting Mitt Romney’s views on the Detroit auto bailout.
David Letterman is a big fan of President Barack Obama as any regular viewer of the Late Show is well aware. On Tuesday night, during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about Monday’s presidential debate, Letterman admitted he was “upset” and “discouraged” that the president was not telling the truth Mitt Romney’s GM auto bailout views.
Letterman wasn’t kidding around for once, so this is rather a surprising admission from one of the president’s most fervent supporters.
During the debate, Obama and Romney disagreed about what the GOP standard bearer wrote in his op-ed piece in the November 8, 2008, issue of the New York Times.
This is what Letterman said last night about the back-and-forth about the auto bailout during the debate:
“Now, I don’t care whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you want your president to be telling the truth; you want the contender to be lying. And so what we found out today or soon thereafter that, in fact, the President Obama was not telling the truth about what was excerpted from that op-ed piece. I felt discouraged.”
Rachel Maddow replied, “Because the ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt’ headline you feel like was inappropriate?”
“Well, the fact the President is invoking it and swearing that he was right and that Romney was wrong and I thought, well, he’s the president of course he’s right. Well, it turned out no, he was taking liberties with that.”
Romney was in favor of giving government help to the auto industry but only after it went through a managed bankruptcy and streamlined its operations. As the Detroit News explains, “Romney’s plan would have called for government financing — but only after the companies had filed for bankruptcy.” The News acknowledges, however, that the auto companies could have been stuck in bankruptcy for a long time and may not have survived after the process.
The Detroit News also explains that GM and Chrysler went bankrupt under Obama’s watch anyway despite Obama’s claims during the debate that he wasn’t about to let Detroit go bankrupt:
“In fact, Obama did put General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC into bankruptcy after President George W. Bush gave the automakers and their finance arms $25 billion in the final weeks of his presidency. Obama added $60 billion to the bailouts and agreed to swap much of the government loans for stock in the automakers, as part of a plan to speed the companies through bankruptcy in just 40 days.”
The restructuring as implemented also proved to be a windfall for the politically connected unions to the detriment of other investors.
Romney concluded his auto bailout op-ed in the Times as follows:
“The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. 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.”
Watch David Letterman say he is upset and discouraged that the president is not telling the truth about Mitt Romney and the auto bailout: