As Chrysler repaid $5.8 billion in taxpayer loans Tuesday, Democrats hailed President Obama for rescuing the domestic automobile industry with its 2009 government bailout program.
The administration saved millions of jobs and preserved a big part of the Midwestern manufacturing base, former Democratic Govs. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Ted Strickland of Ohio said in a conference call with reporters.
Frontrunner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, came in for particular attack for his New York Times op-ed entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Romney is a native of Michigan, where his father was the president of American Motors Co. and later the state’s governor.
“When Michigan families and communities needed his help most, Romney saw this as an opportune moment to earn some conservative credentials,” Granholm said. Government loans to General Motors and Chrysler saved more than 1 million jobs, and both companies are expanding production and hiring, she said.
Romney supporters note that the Obama administration did implement the radical restructuring recommendations he made in the op-ed.
The White House is hoping that the improvement in the fortunes of the American auto industry will boost the president’s standing in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, where his approval ratings remain middling ahead of the 2012 reelection campaign.
Indeed, Republicans took over the governor’s offices in Michigan and Ohio last fall as voters protested the continuing weaknesses in the economy.
Look to see more ads like this web verision produced by the Democratic National Committee: