Mitt Romney said on Tuesday he never turned his back on his auto-building
Detroit hometown even though he advocated to "let Detroit go bankrupt."
"It would never have crossed my mind to close down the industry," the presumed Republican presidential nominee said in an exclusive telephone interview with The Blade. "My plan was how best to save the industry, and in my view, going through a managed bankruptcy process was essential to saving the industry."
Mr. Romney is scheduled today to attend a Toledo fund-raiser where tickets cost $10,000 a couple for a VIP photo reception or $50,000 to attend a luncheon. At 2 p.m. he will speak at a "town hall" event at the Bowling Green Community Center where he will take audience questions. Ohio Gov. John Kasich will join Mr. Romney in Bowling Green, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said. From there, Mr. Romney will travel to a campaign event in Canton.
Protesters from the group MoveOn.org Political Action announced plans to carry signs calling on Mr. Romney to release more than a single year of his tax returns.
Mr. Romney gave an exclusive print-media interview to The Blade on Tuesday, answering questions for 17 minutes on the telephone just prior to taking the stage at a rally outside Pittsburgh.
He and Democratic incumbent President Obama are lavishing attention on Ohio, a swing state that could end up deciding the 2012 election.
Mr. Obama held a town hall meeting in Cincinnati on Monday, where he accused Mr. Romney of backing policies that favor the rich and encourage outsourcing of U.S. jobs.
Vice President Joe Biden is to make an appearance Thursday in Columbus as part of what he calls the "Made in Ohio Manufacturing Tour."
Mr. Romney, 65, grew up in the affluent Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. His father, the late George Romney, headed American Motors for a time and later was governor of Michigan.
Among the thousands of Michiganians and Ohioans whose lives would have been devastated by an unruly collapse of the auto industry may also have been some of Mr. Romney's friends and family members who remain in the area.
Economists predicted as many as 1 million people would have lost jobs if Washington had not come through with taxpayer funds to help General Motors and Chrysler through the financial crisis that started in 2008.
Under President Obama, the government poured $82 billion into GM and Chrysler, an action that has been rewarded with record sales by both companies and plans to bring on 1,100 more workers at Chrysler's Toledo Jeep assembly complex.
Taxpayers are still on the hook for equity in GM of about $23 billion.
Mr. Romney said his solution would have saved taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.
Asked if he turned his back on his hometown by taking a hard line against a government bailout of the American auto industry, Mr. Romney said that was a mischaracterization of his position.
He made his case in a Nov. 18, 2008, New York Times guest column headlined "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." That column made reference to government guarantees, not direct outlays of government money.
Critics said there was no private financing available to even keep the companies alive while courts and, lawyers, debtors, and creditors argued over
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