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Mitt Romney measures his ... support from independents (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Mitt Romney exaggerates how much he knows about how to save the auto industry (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Mitt Romney's view that the government should not have given aid to GM and Chrysler before they entered managed bankruptcy has drawn widespread criticism, with the man who headed President Obama's auto industry task force at the time saying that, in the 2009 search for private financing for the industry, "We took every phone call, we made as many outgoing calls as we could think of." But there were no private sources willing or able to provide the needed aid, and, the New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters reports, "the only path through bankruptcy would have been Chapter 7 liquidation, not the more orderly Chapter 11 reorganization," according to both members of Obama's task force and auto industry executives.

You'd think Mr. Business Experience himself, Mitt Romney, running for president on the basis of how he knows how these things work and could do better than Barack Obama, would have been able to figure that out at the time. But it gets better:

In fact, the task force asked Bain Capital, the private equity company that Mr. Romney helped found, if it was interested in investing in General Motors’ European operations, according to one person with direct knowledge of the discussions.

Bain declined, this person said, speaking anonymously to discuss private negotiations.

Romney wasn't at Bain at the time this happened, so he wouldn't necessarily know that the government had approached Bain itself. But if there's something Romney's business experience should have given him some insight on, it's the fact that under those circumstances, companies like Bain would refuse to get involved. So—even setting aside the values question, the fact that he wanted the auto industry rescue to involve a whole lot more pain for workers and to break their unions—there's a basic competence question here. Has Romney forgotten how things work in the business where he made his hundreds of millions, or, when he thinks he sees an opportunity for political advantage, does he just conveniently forget?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:49 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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