Washington Times Botches Attack on Obama

Washington Times Botches Attack on Obama

Printer-friendly version
a a
Type Size: Small

The editors of the Washington Times had President Obama cold. During the campaign, he had blasted Mitt Romney for a November 18, 2008 New York Times op-ed in which the Republican presidential candidate advised the administration to “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Obama, by comparison, was in favor of a bailout. But this week, a judge ruled that the city should be allowed to file for bankruptcy.

“It's as though the president had told Detroit, ‘If you like your budget and spending plan, you can keep it’” an editorial published Tuesday crowed.

“The Republican nominee sensibly argued that bankruptcy would force the city to go through a drastic — and necessary — restructuring of its finances,” the editors wrote. “Mr. Obama, on the other hand, boasted, ‘We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers … and that bet is paying off.’ Until Tuesday.”

Here’s the problem: When Romney wrote his now famous op-ed in The New York Times, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” he wasn’t referring to the city. He was referring to the U.S. automotive industry. The very first line of the article reads, “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”

And Romney turned out to be just as wrong as the Washington Times. As of this afternoon, share prices for Ford and GM were both near five-year highs, and Chrysler yesterday announced a 16 percent surge in sales in just the past month.

Commenters on the Washington Times website appear equally divided between whether the paper simply didn’t know what it was talking about, or was actively trying to put one over on its readership. Either way, the word “bankrupt” would seem to apply.  -  Follow Rob Garver on Twitter @rrgarver

A longtime reporter on the intersection of the federal government and the private sector, Rob Garver served as a National Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C., for four years. He has written for ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications.