Fox's John Roberts Whitewashes Romney's Position On Auto Rescue

Fox correspondent John Roberts misrepresented Mitt Romney's position on rescuing the auto industry to suggest President Obama was lying.

During the October 26 edition of America's Newsroom, Roberts suggested Obama was lying to the audience during a campaign rally in Iowa when he said Romney wanted the auto industry to go through bankruptcy with private financing. Roberts claimed that “in truth,” Romney believed the auto industry simply could not be given another bailout and that “managed bankruptcy with government backing was the best thing to save the auto industry in the long run.” 

Roberts misrepresented what Romney has said regarding government assistance for U.S. auto companies. In the New York Times op-ed Roberts referenced in his report, Romney stated: “The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing.” Experts disagree about the meaning of this phrase, and even the Romney campaign could not clarifiy it.

There is no question, however, that Romney's ever-changing argument differs from President Obama's decision to loan federal funds to GM and Chrysler, allowing them to survive bankruptcy and save the auto industry in 2009.

Furthermore, Roberts ignored other remarks that Romney made on the subject. During a November 2011 Republican primary debate, Romney responded to a question about his op-ed, saying that the auto industry should have gone through a private bankruptcy process:

My view with regards to the bailout was that whether it was by President Bush or by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go. I said from the very beginning they should go through a managed bankruptcy process, a private bankruptcy process.

We have capital markets and bankruptcy, it works in the U.S. The idea of billions of dollars being wasted initially then finally they adopted the managed bankruptcy, I was among others that said we ought to do that.

My plan, we would have had a private sector bailout with the private sector restructuring and bankruptcy with the private sector guiding the direction as opposed to what we had with government playing its heavy hand. [emphasis added]

Romney echoed these comments in a February Detroit News op-ed attacking the auto industry rescue. Romney criticized government intervention for GM and Chrysler saying, “Before the companies were allowed to enter and exit bankruptcy, the U.S. government swept in with an $85 billion sweetheart deal disguised as a rescue plan. By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.”

Romney also once told reporters that it “would have been best had the auto companies gone through the bankruptcy process without having taken $17 billion from government.”

Experts agree that it would not have been possible for GM and Chrysler to rely solely on private financing in 2008 and 2009, due to the global financial crisis. (Something they said in 2008 as well.)