Lutz supports Romney despite opposition to GM bailout
Photo credit: CNBC
DETROIT -- Even though Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opposed the government bailout of General Motors, he still has won the support of one of the automaker's former top executives.
In a Wednesday appearance on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report," Bob Lutz, former GM vice chairman, said he backs Romney in the November presidential election.
Romney opposed the government bailouts of GM and Chrysler. In 2008, he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," in which he decried the proposed bailouts, calling instead for a "managed bankruptcy."
Lutz has criticized Romney for his stance on the auto industry rescue. In a Feb. 18 Detroit Free Press article, he bashed Romney for suggesting that the auto industry didn't try to borrow from banks.
"The banks were even more broke than we were," Lutz said. "Who had the money?"
But Lutz told CNBC host Larry Kudlow on Wednesday that Romney has since changed his beliefs on the federal intervention in the auto industry.
"I think he has since modified his stand on that completely," Lutz said. "He now says he was totally in favor of it and suggested it. That's neither here nor there."
Lutz said he is not concerned with Romney's past behavior. Lutz suggested that his support for Romney stems from disapproval of President Barack Obama.
"You know, all is forgiven," Lutz said. "It depends who [Romney's] opponent is."
In an interview with The Detroit News this month, Romney pledged to quickly sell the U.S. Treasury's stake in GM if he is elected president. He also criticized Obama's proposed fuel economy requirements, arguing that they would force automakers to push certain vehicles on consumers rather than allowing the companies to make the cars their customers want.
In the same interview, Romney expressed disapproval with the federal government's financial support of the electric vehicle industry. He said the Obama administration is trying "to force a market to adopt a technology that people aren't interested in."
Lutz, however, has been a proponent of vehicle electrification. Last month, he joined the board of Energ2, a maker of components for energy storage systems and a recipient of federal aid for EV development.
In February, Energ2 received a $21.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a factory in Oregon to make advanced carbon materials for EV batteries and devices to efficiently store the energy from the cars' batteries. That grant was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, another product of the Obama administration that Romney has said he did not support.
Lutz was not available for comment this afternoon.
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