Auto Bailout Czar Ron Bloom Changes Story

On Friday night, I discussed White House staffer Ron Bloom’s statement that the auto bailout was done for the unions, and his subsequent denial of making such a claim, only to now back off his denial. The show was America’s Nightly Scorecard on Fox Business Channel. Here’s a transcript:

David Asman: The auto bailouts infuriating a range of stakeholders who argued all along that the government was orchestrating the bail-outs to give the unions more power, some say all the power, Ron Bloom, the White House’s car czar, formerly a leader of the steelworkers union, reportedly admitting as much, twice saying, I am doing all this for the unions. But Bloom changed his story under oath. Take a listen.

Roll Video

Congressman Dan Burton: Did you say this at a dinner– there was a dinner and it was reported by David Shepherdson, Washington correspondent for The Detroit News– at a farewell dinner of the auto task force held in the restaurant Rosa Mexicano in late July 2009 that you allegedly said, I did this all for the unions.

Ron Bloom: I did not say that.

Voice Over: You didn’t say that?

Ron Bloom: No, sir.

Congressman Dan Burton: So you were misquoted by the–

Ron Bloom: That’s correct.

End Video

David Asman: Oh, boy! Well, tonight, Bloom is backtracking. The Wall Street Journal’s Lee Hawkins…

Lee Hawkins: Oh!

David Asman:  …and National Legal and Policy Center’s Mark Modica joins us now. Already, you’re– but I want to go to Mark first. How does all this strike you, Mark, the fact that this guy is admitting, or at least admitted under one certain set of circumstances, that he did it all for the unions?

Mark Modica: Well, these guys haven’t been very up front from the beginning, so it doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t tell the truth about his comments. But what really doesn’t surprise me is that there was an admission that there was favoritism for the UAW. If you looked at the deal that was cut and what happened to the GM bondholders, as well as other classes, they were subordinated to the interests of the politically powerful UAW.

David Asman: And Lee, it wasn’t only the bondholders.

Lee Hawkins: No.

David Asman: Delphi Corporation, the suppliers to a lot of the car companies…

Lee Hawkins: Exactly.

David Asman:  …they lost seventy percent of their pensions.

Lee Hawkins: Right.

David Asman: The union lost zip! And they got it all.

Lee Hawkins: That was one of the big reasons that they did this Congressional hearing, to look into the way that the bailout was handled and the winners and the losers. And the clear pension losers were the Delphi salaried workers in this case.

David Asman: Absolutely.

Lee Hawkins: And so…

David Asman: Now, let me just bring up the fact that he has, Bloom has sort of changed his story now, admitting that the testimony he gave, and I believe it was under oath, so that could be prosecuted, and I’m going to quote now, was, ”Given the amount of time”, this is what he said yesterday in a letter from the White House. ”Given the amount of time that has passed since the dinner in July 2009 and the fact that others may have a different recollection, I cannot say with absolute certainty” – as he did in the hearings – ”that I did not make the alleged comments.” So he is backtracking, Mark. But are you thinking of suing him?

Mark Modica: No. But David, let me say, in the beginning, the task force said they were trying to restructure GM and Chrysler outside of bankruptcy. Steve Rattner even says in his book that they were lying to the American public. There were no intentions of doing this outside of bankruptcy. They had planned all along to what they were going to do and how they were going to protect the UAW. So this was well planned out and it’s very deceptive. He’s being deceptive now that he can’t remember saying it. But…

David Asman: …now essentially, he is now essentially admitting, though, that he lied under oath because you saw his testimony. He was absolutely sure. He said, No, no, no. I never said it. No way.

Lee Hawkins: Let me tell you one thing, David. I’ve been a reporter for more than a decade at three different newspapers. If anyone ever said, I didn’t say what Lee Hawkins wrote that I said, I would be suing them for defamation of character…

David Asman: It could ruin your career!

Lee Hawkins: …because that is all that we have. When you say that we fabricated a quote, OK, you’re messing with our careers.

David Asman: Makes you mad.

Lee Hawkins: Yeah, it does because that’s all we have, right? And so when I look at this situation, all it says is the UAW, the politically powerful UAW, played role in helping these companies to go down. When you look at, when I covered General Motors, I saw the unions employing people in the job banks that basically were doing nothing.

David Asman: Right.

Lee Hawkins: I saw people smoking on assembly lines and then handing in…

David Asman: …even worse, we see them smoking dope outside of the Chrysler plant!

Lee Hawkins: So five billion dollars in health care costs compared to the Japanese that didn’t have that. And so this is why this is not a funny joke.

David Asman: Right. Hey, Mark, very quickly, this guy is not out of public service. He is still a White House adviser now advising on manufacturing.

Mark Modica: Yeah, all the phonies are.

David Asman: Should this be cause, should this be cause for him to leave government service?

Mark Modica: You know, I think it’s cause for all for Obama and all his cronies to get out. I mean, it’s up to the American people to decide. You’ve been lied to. These guys are all deceptive. You have bailouts that are designed to protect politically powerful people like the UAW. So it’s up to the people to decide. I don’t think just Bloom should be out of there. I think, you know, Obama and everybody who orchestrated this whole farce should all– should all be out of there.

David Asman: All right, guys, thank you very much. We have to leave it like that. Have a great weekend, Mark and Lee. Coming up on deck, an incredibly shocking report…

Related:

Auto Bailout Czar: We Did It All for the Unions