On the same day that General Motors reported record profits, Mitt Romney stumped in Michigan, reiterating his opposition to the federal government bailout that many credit with saving GM and Chrysler.
Romney told the Detroit News’ editorial board Thursday that rather than the federal government lending the two companies $80 billion, GM and Chrysler should have entered bankruptcy six months earlier and the federal government should have offered loan guarantees.
“I would have never allowed the auto industry to disappear,” Romney told the paper.
Later, speaking to a few hundred people at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Romney said he was “delighted” that the industry was once again profitable.
“I love American cars, and long may they rule the world, let me tell you,” he said. “I want them to do well.”
It’s an awkward stance for Romney, who grew up nearby and is the son of the late former governor George Romney. GOP voters here are split over the bailout, and voters overall support it, leading to a potentially tricky situation come the general election if Romney is the GOP nominee.
That discomfort was on display at the event, where Romney was endorsed by Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has said the bailout was necessary to save the industry.
The men made no mention of the issue at the event, with Snyder saying he was backing Romney because of his experiences in business and running a state. He added that Romney’s roots were the “icing on the cake.”
“He understands our state. He’s one of us,” he said. “And that’s another area of particular pride.”
Romney discussed his fondness for the state where he was born.
“I love this state. It seems right here,” Romney said. “The trees are the right height. I like seeing the lakes. I love the lakes. There’s something very special here.”