The Obama Administration has just released a campaign video touting President Obama’s auto bailout. Just in time for the Republican primary in Michigan, the ad takes aim at the four current Republican Presidential contenders, especially former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In particular, the commercial, titled “Made in America,” attacks Romney for his now infamous “Let Detroit go bankrupt” op-ed in the New York Times. The ad also states that all four candidates “turned their backs” when the auto industry was in trouble. Aside from criticizing the Republican field, the new ad campaign flaunts GM and Chrysler profits and features an enthusiastic President Obama exclaiming, “Don’t bet against the American auto industry.”
Although President Obama has publicized his auto bailout as monumental achievement, the public split on the issue. According to a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans opposed the auto bailouts. Polls indicate that more Republicans disapprove of the decision than Democrats. Though their hometown automakers may have benefited from the bailouts, even most Michigan Republicans still oppose the measures taken between 2008 and 2010.
"The other thing that people have talked to me about is Mitt [Romney]'s position, which is actually by the way the same as [Rick] Santorum's, about letting the auto companies go bankrupt -- I agree with that," said Barbara VanSyckel, Macomb County GOP chairwoman.
As for the Democratic argument, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told MSNBC: “If any of the Republicans running for president now had been president in 2009, auto workers wouldn’t be on the assembly line today, they’d be on the unemployment line.”
Though the GOP mainly attacks President Obama, initial auto bailout measures were taken under the Bush Administration in 2008. Bush initially gave $25 million to American automakers during the 2008 economic collapse. In 2009, President Obama added another $60 million to the bailout package. Admittedly, the more than $80 million bailout did save auto industry jobs, but it also cost American taxpayers a hefty sum. According to estimates by government agencies and independent groups, the bailout has cost taxpayers upwards of $14 billion.
The auto industry plight from 2008-2010 was not solely an American problem, but rather a global one. The crisis also deeply affected Asian and European manufacturers. In the U.S., the problem was due to a number of factors including a significant rise in fuel prices (2003-2008), which discouraged the purchase of large trucks and SUVs, and lack of focus on fuel efficient vehicles among others. The situation was also compounded as well by the credit crunch of 2008.
President Obama’s “Made in America” ad is currently only broadcasting in Michigan, but can viewed online below.
Does the Obama Administration ad ring true to you or do you side with the Republicans?