President Obama, launching his most direct campaign attack yet at a Republican foe, on Tuesday mocked Mitt Romney’s stance on the automobile industry, telling autoworkers that the former Massachusetts governor’s recent statements are an effort to “rewrite history” and “a load of you-know-what.” The stinging assault on Romney came in remarks to the United Auto Workers convention in Washington on the day of the Michigan primary, after a campaign in which Romney has tried to wriggle out of his controversial opposition to efforts by two presidents to rescue the auto industry in 2008 and 2009.
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The speech marks a new phase of the campaign for the president, who has largely ignored the Republicans fighting to oppose him in November. He made no direct mention of Romney’s name. But there was no doubt of his target as he twice quoted from the Republican candidate’s op-ed, published in The New York Times on Nov. 18, 2008 under the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
Obama challenged “the naysayers” to admit they were wrong to oppose the rescue efforts, to “finally come around and say that standing by American workers was the right thing to do.” After quoting again from Romney’s article, Obama added, “I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet. The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’ Now they’re saying we were right all along. Or... worse, they’re saying that the problem is that you, the workers, made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions.”