The Slatest

Obama and Romney Told Americans To “Look It Up.’ They Did.

A worker assembles General Motors trucks on an assembly line in Flint, Mich.

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.

During a heated exchange over Mitt Romney’s position on the auto bailout during Monday’s foreign policy debate, the GOP hopeful and President Obama agreed on one thing: Viewers at home should do a little digging themselves to find out which candidate was telling the truth. “People can look it up, you’re right,” Romney told Obama. “People will look it up,” the president responded. “Good,” said Romney. (The two men, of course, continued to talk over each other for a bit longer.)

Well, lo and behold, it looks like people did indeed follow through on the candidates’ request. As the Columbia Journalism Review pointed out, the most-read story on the New York Times website yesterday afternoon was Romney’s 2008 op-ed laying out how he would handle the Detroit automakers. Almost a full day later, the piece still tops the newspaper’s most-read list:

Here’s the link to the op-ed itself, titled perhaps too strongly: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” (It was the paper’s editors, and not Romney, who most likely wrote the headline, fwiw.)

As you’ll see if you read it for yourself, Romney was correct in saying Monday that he didn’t specifically call for the liquidation of Detroit’s Big Three. He instead argued against direct federal aid of the kind the automakers got, and for indirect government assistance to help with a “managed bankruptcy” that “would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.” Of course he also claimed that a government bailout like the one the carmakers received would “virtually guarantee” Detroit’s demise.