According to CNN's Soledad O'Brien, the auto bailout led to a
"pretty incredible resurgence" in the American auto industry. She
grilled Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Thursday morning over
candidate Mitt Romney's previous opposition to the bailout, saying that
his opposition and the auto industry's eventual success could become a
"huge, huge problem" for the candidate.
"[H]e was against the bailout, and the bailout looking back now, has been successful. Isn't that just standing on the wrong side at the end of the day?" O'Brien pressed Rogers, a special advisor to Romney's campaign. But O'Brien failed to report some of the specific consequences of the bailout, such as the cost to taxpayers.
The bailout's eventual cost
to taxpayers was $14 billion. In addition, Rogers argued that taxpayers
were quite skeptical of the Obama administration's restructuring of the
"[Y]ou'll be surprised, Soledad, how many people even in Michigan were concerned at heavy hand of the government when they took over these automobile companies," Rogers expressed.
Rogers also opined that Romney simply knew of a better way to open the industry's access to capital than through taxpayer dollars. "And I think what Mitt Romney is saying is listen, I would have found a way to get them capital like the private market does in a way that would help the companies get access to the capital that they need," said the congressman.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on February 16 at 7:07 a.m. EST, is as follows:
O'BRIEN: November 19th, 2008, New York Times op-ed by Mitt Romney. Here's what the first line says. "If General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Do you worry – by the way, the automotive industry, as you know, has now had a pretty incredible resurgence and the bailout did happen – do you worry that something like this in the state of Michigan is going to come back and be a huge, huge problem for your candidate?
ROGERS: I don't, and I'll tell you why. Because he at least offered a counter to the way the Obama administration did it. Remember, right after this, Ford Motor Company came out with these bumper stickers – well it wasn't the motor company, let me correct that – but a lot of people on their own in Michigan came up with these bumper stickers that were going on the back of Ford cars that said "built without your tax dollars in Michigan." So there was even discussion in Michigan, was this the right way to do it? And many believe that there was an alternative way where the federal government didn't own a part of a car company. And I think that's really the difference between how Mitt Romney would have helped the car companies –
O'BRIEN: But he was against the bailout, and the bailout looking back now, has been successful. Isn't that just standing on the wrong side at the end of the day?
ROGERS: No, because I think, again, there's the nuance on how you can do it. I ended up supporting the auto bailout portion because we were reprogramming that money from Wall Street. But at the same time I disagreed with the fact that the government was going to take ownership and shares of a company. I think that's a dangerous way to do it.
Now, it worked because they had capital. And I think what Mitt Romney is saying is listen, I would have found a way to get them capital like the private market does in a way that would help the companies get access to the capital that they need. It wasn't the money in and of itself that saved the companies. That was the designers and the folks that built those cars. If you look at the new generation of automobiles coming out of Detroit, they're fantastic. That happened because of those people. They just needed access to capital.
I think what Romney was saying was, listen, there was probably a better way to do this. At the end of the day, I agree with him on that. I think there was a better way to do it. It was the way it was presented to us at the time. I think it needed to happen and they needed to get access to capital. But I think that discussion probably will happen and you'll be surprised, Soledad, how many people even in Michigan were concerned at heavy hand of the government when they took over these automobile companies.
O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to see if that is reflected in the vote when that happens. Congressman Mike Rogers joining us this morning, appreciate your time, thank you.
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center