On the day one Bush -- Jeb -- endorsed his candidacy, Mitt Romney praised another -- former President George W. Bush -- for the actions he took that Romney said averted a second Great Depression.
In response to a question at a town hall meeting in suburban Baltimore about “too big to fail,” Romney criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the auto bailout.
From there, he pivoted to discuss the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which Bush administration had adopted to ensure the U.S. banking system remained solvent, though he never invoked the four-letter acronym.
So that businesses did not spark a run on banks to ensure they had the means to continue meeting payrolls, Romney said, Bush and then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson “said we’ve gotta do something to show we’re not going to let the whole system go out of business.”
President Obama, Romney added, has become fond of saying his actions were what averted an even greater economic crisis.
“No, no, no. That was President George W. Bush and Hank Paulson,” he said to applause.
It was opposition to TARP, along with the 2009 stimulus program, auto rescue and other steps that inspired the rise of the tea party movement, which became a major force in the Republican Party.
Romney acknowledged that some “disagree with him,” but that he thinks Bush and Paulson took the appropriate steps.