LOS ANGELES -- As they say in politics, U.S. Rep. John Campbell was for the auto industry bailout and the TARP fund before he was against them.
For 25 years, Campbell sold Nissans, Mazdas, Saturns, Fords and Saabs in Orange County, Calif. He began selling his holdings in the mid-1990s and completed the final sale shortly before becoming a congressman.
A Republican representing south Orange County, he is now embroiled in issues that have a bearing on his former occupation. And that sometimes can be a problem.
Campbell may be best known for protecting car dealers during the recent financial services overhaul. He favored bailing out General Motors and Chrysler -- though abstained on his vote to avoid a conflict of interest. He also backed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a fund that helped protect banking interests.
But Campbell says he does not favor how the Obama administration has handled the legislation.
Saving GM and Chrysler, he said, "will be seen as having been the right thing to do. It saved the economy. But I do not agree with how the Obama administration set the terms of the deal and how they have administered the funds."
Similarly, while proud of the exemption he brought to dealers, Campbell voted against the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, calling it "a disaster." An incentive program like Hyundai Assurance, Campbell reasons, would have required federal approval -- which could have taken months -- before being allowed on the market.
With Election Day tomorrow, Campbell is all but assured of a fourth term in his strongly Republican district. And he expects a big day for Republicans.
"It will not be because we've done great things; it's because the other side has done very bad things," Campbell said in an interview at his district office in Newport Beach. "We'll probably improve the Obama presidency, as the Republican Congress did in 1994 with Bill Clinton."