Rush Limbaugh has spent years attacking President Obama over the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. But today he flip-flopped, deciding to give credit for the bailout to President Bush - even though much of the bailout work occurred under Obama -- in order to diminish Obama's accomplishments.
Limbaugh used his September 7 show to denigrate Obama as "much less achieved and much less accomplished than most who have gotten half as far as he has." After first repeating the dubious claim that "somebody had to tell [Obama] three times to pull the trigger" on Osama bin Laden, Limbaugh refused to give credit to Obama for the auto bailout show, saying: "George W. Bush did the auto bailout. Yeah, Obama asked Bush to, but Bush did it. It was already done by the time Obama got there."
After Obama touted the success of the auto bailout in his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Limbaugh now wants to deny Obama that accomplishment by claiming the revival of the auto industry was due to President Bush. But his revisionist history that the bailout ignores reality.
In December 2008, GM received $13 billion in loans under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); in early January 2009, before Obama took office, Chrysler received $4 billion. PolitiFact points out that this money was "meant to keep the companies afloat for a little longer" until the companies' viability could be studied. On Jan. 12, 2009, then-President-elect Obama asked then-President Bush to release the remaining $350 billion designated for TARP, out of which the auto bailout was being funded.
By February 2009, Obama had formed a task force to study the viability of GM and Chrysler, as detailed in a report by a congressional oversight panel on the auto bailout. Ultimately, the companies took $80 billion in bailout money, were restructured in bankruptcy, and the federal government took ownership stakes in them as a way to help recover some of that money.
Limbaugh's reversal flies in the face of his years-long efforts to hang the bailout on Obama. On an April 2009 edition of his show, for example, Limbaugh declared that GM and Chrysler had "bent over, [and] grabbed the ankles" to meet the government's terms for the bailout because "everybody's scared of Obama."
Limbaugh's claim that Bush saved the auto industry ignores the fact that much of the heavy lifting occurred under the Obama administration, and it conflicts with Limbaugh's history of hanging the bailout on Obama.