U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., says he doesn't see a contradiction between his past support of General Motors and his recent opposition in Congress to federal loans for the troubled Detroit 3 automakers.
Corker emerged as a harsh critic of GM and the UAW during Congressional debate over the bailout last year.
GM is spiraling downward, said the freshman senator in November.
But Corker was once an enthusiastic proponent of GM -- or sure sounded like it. A video circulating on YouTube shows just how enthusiastic he was.
Corker visited GM's engine plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., on April 27, 2007. Afterward, Corker said he saw a tremendous amount of excitement here about the investments in the future, about being part of helping make our country energy secure.
During the bailout debate, Corker tried to fashion a compromise that would have approved initial loans for the Detroit 3 through the Senate on the night of Dec. 11. That proposal called for the UAW, at some point in 2009, to accept wages and benefits competitive with the transplants. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger would not agree to let the concessions take effect in 2009.
Corker, in an interview with Automotive News on Wednesday, defended his positions on GM and the bailout.
I dont see any contradiction at all. Ive said before that we have a very modern GM plant in Tennessee. But it doesnt matter how efficient the Spring Hill plant is if GM has $62 billion in debt that they cant service, even in good times.
My solution was to give them a way to become more competitive and make the kind of changes you can make through a bankruptcy, but without suffering the stigma and fallout of an actual bankruptcy.
Ive been somewhat perplexed that the local UAW members dont see it that way. I believe what Ive been saying has been totally consistent. I want the U.S. auto companies to have long-term success, and for Spring Hill to increase its employment.