The Obama Administration and campaigners working to ensure a second term for the Democrat have often invoked Mitt Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” headline/soundbyte to hit at the Republican nominee’s presidential campaign. Now, the Romney campaign has rung the bell for Round 2 by turning a bankruptcy headache tied to President Barack Obama into a public counterstrike.
Romney went on the attack this week with allegations of ”crony capitalism” over the failure of Solyndra, a solar energy company with deep ties to the Obama fundraisers now being investigated for fraud and in the midst of a Chapter 11 case filed in September. Solyndra had received more than one-half-billion-dollars in government loan guarantees which, along with its palatial offices, were at the center of Romney’s ire. The Solyndra bankruptcy filing, the FBI raid at its headquarters and ongoing investigations levied a PR hit to the Obama Administration. In the wake of the auto bankruptcy debate Obama and other politicians have used against Romney during campaign season, the GOP candidate is trying to turn the tables with insolvency, similarly, as the centerpiece of the counter-effort.
Romney has been bashed regularly, including by some Obama campaigners, for the self-penned 2008 New York Times headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Romney criticized Obama for the proposed bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors, which most labeled at least somewhat successful, noting a burden on taxpayers as a key critique. Romney's point was about ways to better manage the bankruptcies to improve business prospects for the long-term health of the companies with no suggestions of liquidations which would have caused millions to lose their jobs. The additional gist of Romney’s later arguments was that the president had acted in some ways on his publicly-offered advice. Still, the headline has stood out in campaign soundbytes over the depth of Romney’s point in the piece, which some argue still wouldn’t have been successful without government financial involvement during the downturn. The issue also was used by Romney’s GOP primary opponents with some success in Ohio and Michigan, though Romney managed to eke out wins in both.
However, that story has taken a significant backseat to Solyndra upon Romney’s newfound focus on the administration embarrassment.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer