I don't think anybody can blame him for laughing:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Mitt Romney just said that he deserves credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry.I cannot wait until this issue comes up during the fall debates—President Obama is going to clean Mitt Romney's clock on this.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (laughs)
ROBERTS: How do you respond to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know I think this is one of those Etch-A-Sketch moments. I don't think anybody takes that seriously. People remember his position which was "let's let Detroit go bankrupt." So, had we followed his advice, at that time, GM and Chrysler would have gone under, and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the midwest.
At the time, everybody—including both President Obama and Mitt Romney—knew the auto industry needed to restructure. The difference was that Romney wanted to force the auto manufacturers into immediate bankruptcy—even though they were on the edge of collapse—while President Obama wanted to first guarantee their financial stability.
So while both Obama and Romney wanted restructuring, President Obama wanted to make sure there was something to restructure. Mitt Romney just saw a feast for vulture capitalists.
If Romney had gotten his way, there would have been nothing to restructure, because at the time the financial crisis was so severe that there were no private funds available to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat. And it was President Obama's decision to support emergency loans that allowed the companies to survive. Thanks to that bailout, the companies were able to successfully restructure, putting the American auto industry on track to thrive—as it is doing today.