By JENNIFER EPSTEIN
After days of trading barbs about the success of the auto bailout from a distance, Steve Rattner has a challenge for Mitt Romney: A live debate.
“I welcome that fight, I welcome that argument. I would love to debate any Romney person, any time, on the merits of the auto bailout,” Rattner, Obama’s former car czar, told POLITICO Thursday.
Campaigning ahead of the Feb. 28 Michigan primary, Romney wrote an op-ed in the Detroit News Tuesday calling the $83 billion infusion of federal money to save the state’s automakers a sell out to labor managed by Rattner, “a politically connected and ethically challenged Obama-campaign contributor.”
Rattner accused Romney of “pandering to his base” in suggesting that the federal government should have let GM and Chrysler go through the regular bankruptcy process.
“The alternative that he proposes would never have worked, it would have led to the liquidation of the companies. I’ve spent a lot of time in Michigan and I don’t believe that the average person in Michigan thinks that the rescue operation was a mistake,” Rattner said. “I think that the average person in Michigan thinks that that saved their state.”