When Detroit on Thursday became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy, it punctured a major narrative that was key to President Obama’s re-election: that his auto bailout would help resuscitate the Motor City’s battered economy and inject life into an area unable to shake hard times.
Facing $18.5 billion in long-term debt, Detroit is now turning to the federal courts for help, hardly matching the rosy portrait painted by the president in recent months.
On the campaign trail, particularly in the Midwestern states dependent on the auto sector, Obama trumpeted his cash infusion to major American car companies as part of his populist pitch to blue-collar voters.
“I wasn’t going to let Detroit go bankrupt. Or Toledo go bankrupt. Or Lordstown go bankrupt. I bet on American workers,” Obama said in the final sprint to November’s election.
And Obama and his campaign demonized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for a New York Times op-ed headlined, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
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