Mitt Romney has taken a lot of heat in the past four years for an opinion piece he wrote for the New York Times that carried the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
His essay, which urged structured bankruptcies for the U.S. automotive industry, has repeatedly been used against him by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Today, at least one institution in Detroit still is backing Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who is a native son of the city, a self-styled car guy and son of a onetime automaker’s chief executive. The Detroit News endorsed Romney in today’s editions, calling him the candidate with “the best hope of changing the nation’s fate.”
In its editorial, the newspaper said it anticipates Romney would govern in “the same manner as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a practical leader who shares his background as a business executive.”
The newspaper also praised Obama’s leadership on the auto bailout, while criticizing Romney’s opposition.
“He was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets,” the newspaper said. “Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them.”
“I’m a son of Detroit,” Romney said in his final debate with Obama this week. “I was born in Detroit. My dad was head of a car company. I like American cars. And I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry. ”
Still, the newspaper found some fault for Obama’s handling of the bailout.
“We have criticized Obama in past editorials for rewriting bankruptcy law on the fly to hold harmless his supporters in the United Auto Workers union. Still, Michigan is better off today because of Obama’s leadership on this issue,” the paper said. “Had Obama done as well with the rest of the economy, it would be hard to deny him a second term.”