TheDC’s Matthew Boyle has chronicled a lack of transparency between GM and the Obama administration and the extent of the government’s involvement in the company. Cain disagreed.
“The government is not involved in our operations and has not been since the bankruptcy … which was resolved in July 2009,” he said.
Obama, however, continues to claim credit for GM’s record during his tenure in office.
“When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than one million jobs were on the line, Governor Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt,” the president said during a July 5 campaign rally in Maumee, Ohio. “I refused to turn my back on communities like this one.”
“It’s important to emphasize that President Obama let GM go bankrupt. He did,” said J.W. Verret, a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “It is clear that the Obama administration has used its control of General Motors as an agent for its environmental agenda.”
“It’s hard to imagine the government allowing anything to be done by GM, if they can help it, to hurt the president or his administration,” said Bill Ballenger, political commentator and editor of Inside Michigan Politics. “You’d think they’d want to do everything they could to make government intervention look like a good decision.”
Steve Mitchell, pollster and chairman of Mitchell Research, said Michigan – the longtime headquarters of the domestic auto industry — will be a battleground state all the way to November. His latest polling data suggests 47 percent of Michiganders support Obama and 46 percent back Romney.
“I don’t think President Obama expected to have to spend money in this state,” Mitchell said. “If he’s at 47 percent and leading at the end of October, he’s not going to win this election. Undecided voters almost always vote for the challenger.”
Ballenger told TheDC he thinks Obama’s handling of the automotive industry will be a big factor in November. And while Obama appears to have an advantage on the issue in Michigan, he said, it remains unclear who holds the upper hand nationwide.
“The question is if [GM] is viable enough to ever repay taxpayers,” Dalmia said. “It’s pretty clear that taxpayers aren’t ever going to be repaid.”
Rep. Kelly, the Pennsylvania car dealer, predicted an economic resurgence that would impact the auto sector if Mitt Romney becomes president.
“If Governor Romney is elected,” he said, “you’ll see reinvestment, you’ll see people come back to this economy.”