Obama talks up 'auto-rescue'

Mon, Sep 3, 2012, 01:00

US president Barack Obama said his "bet" on America's auto industry is paying off and that letting "Detroit go bankrupt" would have led to another Great Depression, drawing attention at a Labour Day rally in Ohio to Republican Mitt Romney's opposition to the rescue.

"If we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel like that, GM and Chrysler wouldn't exist today," Mr Obama told a crowd of more than 3,000 in Toledo, emphasising that he led the 2009 auto rescue of the two US automakers.

Heading into the Democratic National Convention this week in Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr Obama has been barnstorming election battleground states - Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia - all of which he won in 2008 and where he's locked in tight contests with Mr Romney.

Today marks Obama's 27th visit to Ohio, where the unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent in July is the lowest in the state since September 2008. The state's unemployment rate is below the national jobless rate of 8.3 per cent.

Mr Obama started his day having breakfast at a local diner with three autoworkers.

Mr Obama's aides credit the auto rescue with playing a significant role in Ohio's job growth and spotlight Mr Romney's opposition to the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler Group to try to hurt the Republican's ticket with working-class voters.

Mr Romney wrote in a November 19th, 2008, opinion piece in the New York Times, under the headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," that if the industry was bailed out, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

Mr Obama today peppered his remarks with sports terms, shooting back at Mr Romney for during the weekend likening the president to a coach who's had a losing season and who should be fired.

"I've got one piece of advice for you" about Mr Romney's "game plan for Ohio - punt it away, it won't win the game," Mr Obama said.

Commenting on Mr Obama in Ohio on Saturday, Mr Romney said, "If you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach."

The former Massachusetts governor was referring to the number of unemployed and underemployed in the US.

Mr Obama today compared Mr Romney's economic policies to an offensive possession in a football game - on the first down "he hikes taxes" for middle-class Americans, on the second down he "calls an audible" and undoes financial regulations, and on the third down he "calls for a hail Mary, ending Medicare as we know it," referring to a desperation pass.

Bloomberg