David Frum

10.23.12

About Last Night

In the heat of the debate, I jumped the gun last night with this headline: "Obama Lied About Romney and GM." As I told a commenter via email, Obama blurred some details during the debate, but Romney was far from forthright enough to deserve a stout defense. I've spent the better part of this morning re-reading the arguments (Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn have excellent analyses of the topic.)

Long story short, Romney did indeed call for government financing, but only after bankrupcy. Ordinarily, that would be a sound course of action, but given the lending climate of 2008 and 2009, it likely would have forced the companies to liquidate.

In light of that, I'd like to dial back my headline. Do I believe Obama was misleading on Romney's stance re: the auto bailout? Sure, but that's due in no small part to the fact that Romney seems to have held about 6 different stances since '09. As a result, I can't fairly say that Obama "lied."

My apologies, and thanks to the commenters and readers who called me on this.