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Before Lansing Appearance, Romney Says He Deserves ‘A Lot Of Credit’ For Auto Success

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(Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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LANSING (CBS Detroit) On the eve of a Tuesday appearance in Lansing, Mitt Romney appeared to try to take credit for the re-emergence of the Detroit auto industry.

Campaigning in Cleveland, Ohio, Romney told a crowd of people tied to the manufacturing industry Monday he deserves “a lot of credit” for the industry’s re-emergence.

“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney said, according to the Associated Press. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”

It comes after Romney famously wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” during the height of the industry’s woes in 2009. At the time, he opposed the auto bailout supported by former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama, saying the industry should be left to free market forces and bankruptcy.

Since then, much of the bailout money has been repaid and the Big Three have set records for profits and number of vehicles sold — with General Motors posting a $1 billion profit for first quarter of 2012. The company scored a $7.6 billion profit in 2011, its largest annual profit in history.

Ford posted a $8.8 billion operating profit in 2011, its best showing since 1999. Ford workers also got a $6,200 profit sharing check after years without the bonus. Thousands of people have been re-hired in the manufacturing sector as the industry gains traction again.

“This is the time to celebrate the power, and value of working together,” Ford CEO Alan Mulally said when the profit numbers were revealed.

The bailout is a tricky subject for Romney, who is a Michigan native and the son of former Gov. George Romney.

The Obama campaign immediately jumped on Romney’s claim, calling it “a new low in dishonesty” and saying he needs “the courage and integrity” to admit he was wrong.

Romney won the Michigan Republican primary February 28.

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