As the economy gains momentum and GM reports record profits, Mitt Romney is assuring Michiganders that — dangerous as they may be to his candidacy — he’s plenty happy about both developments.
“Thank heavens the entrepreneurial and independent spirit of the US is winning out,” Romney said at an event in Farmington Hills, despite the “burdens” he said were placed on it by the Obama administration.
Romney was there with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who endorsed Romney that morning. In an awkward twist, however, Snyder was one of the most prominent Republican supporters of the auto bailout, which he warned at the time was absolutely necessary to prevent an economic disaster.
“Mitt Romney wants to rewrite history and Governor Snyder may want to ignore it, but neither can hide the fact that if Mitt Romney had his way, GM and Chrysler would cease to exist today,” a Democratic official said in an e-mail to reporters ahead of the event.
In fact, Romney’s position was a (probably intentionally) lot less clear. He opposed the specific loans the Bush and Obama administration handed out through early 2009 to keep the industry afloat, but has hinted that the position Obama ultimately settled on — a managed bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler paired with billions in taxpayer-funded loans — was what he would have done himself. Basically, it boils down to claiming that he would have done all the stuff that worked and opposed all the stuff that didn’t, without offering many details on which is which.
At Thursday’s event, Romney took credit for the companies’ recovery, including record profits at GM announced this week.
“I’m glad it went through managed bankruptcy, which I recommended from the very beginning,” he said. “I’m delighted it’s profitable.”
The crowd of local business leaders at the luncheon was apparently just Romney’s kind of guys.
“My impression from some government people is they don’t like you very much,” he said. “I love you!”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.