Mitt Romney has been boasting this week that he deserves credit for the resurgence of America's once-struggling auto industry. But that's utter baloney, former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) told msnbc's Lawrence O'Donnell Thursday night.
Earlier this week, Romney told Cleveland's Newschannel 5 that he had long wanted U.S. auto giants to be forced into a managed bankruptcy. "And frankly, finally, that's what the president did. So I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back."
But of course, it's not as simple as all that. So how much credit does Romney really deserve? O'Donnell asked Thursday.
"None. Zip. Zero," said Strickland. "He should be embarrassed to say what he's saying. Does this man have no shame? It's laughable -- almost unbelievable."
In 2008 and 2009, under both President George W. Bush and President Obama, the U.S. government invested tens of billions of dollars in GM and Chrysler to ensure the auto titans didn't completely collapse. Only when they had been propped up could the companies go through a managed bankruptcy.
At the time, Romney penned an op-ed in The New York Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" in which he did urge bankruptcy, but derided the bailout that proved a critical bridge on the road to managed bankruptcy. If the government forks over taxpayer dollars, Romney suggested in 2008, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."
Strickland said Romney's revisionist history proves that he'll say anything if it's politically expedient.
"He knows what he's saying is not accurate and yet he continues to say it.... This man is simply incapable of being factual and telling the truth," Strickland said.
Obama is laying into his GOP rival, too. In an interview with ABC, he blasted Romney's credit-snatching as an "Etch a Sketch" moment, referring to a remark by Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom that the former Massachusetts governor could simply wipe away his old positions and take new ones.
“I don’t think anybody takes that seriously,” the president said of Romney's latest claim. “People remember his position, which was, ‘Let’s let Detroit go bankrupt’ and his opposition to government involvement in making sure that GM and Chrysler didn’t go under.”
O'Donnell noted that this marks the first time Obama used the phrase "Etch A Sketch" to describe Romney.
"It won't be the last," chimed in Time magazine's Joe Klein.