The Washington Post

George W. Bush: Auto bailout was mine!

President George W. Bush at the NADA Convention and Expo in Las Vegas last week. (Courtesy of NADA)

But former President George W. Bush, most annoyingly, keeps coming to Obama’s defense, saying the bailout was essential to stave off complete disaster.

He defended the move in his memoir and he popped up again last week at the Las Vegas convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association, saying he would “do it again.”

“I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment,” Bush told the 22,000 attendees. “Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy.”

“I said, ‘No depression.’”

In his memoir he said the move was “the only option” to avert immediate bankruptcy of Chrysler and GM and the loss of a million jobs and $150 billion in tax revenues.

So Bush, who might be able to beat Romney in Michigan’s Feb. 28 primary — Santorum leads by seven in a CNN poll -- forked over a cool $25 billion. Obama, who’s been criticized by Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler for overstating the success of the effort (the White House differs), forked over another $55 billion.

It’s unclear what the auto dealers forked over to get Bush to appear. Ex-presidents usually get six figures for these appearances. And W got a standing ovation.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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