The Washington Times - January 12, 2012, 04:20PM

White House spokesman Jay Carney Thursday predicted a robust debate “when the time comes” over the records of President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on company restructuring and job losses.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday held a forum highlighting businesses who have chosen to “in-source” — keep investments and jobs in the United States instead of seeking cheaper labor markets overseas.


Even though Mr. Obama never mentioned Mr. Romney’s name or his tenure as an equity capital investor at Bain Capital, the event focused even more attention on the attacks from former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Ricky Perry on what they consider Mr. Romney’s slash-and-burn tactics at Bain.

With the help of a host of conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Romney has pushed back, calling the attacks for fellow Republicans attacks on capitalism itself and anathema to the Republican party. He also warned Mr. Obama on Wednesday that he too is not immune to criticism on the issue.

“The president took the reins of General Motors and Chrysler, closed factories, closed dealerships, laid off thousands and thousands of workers. He did it to try to save the business,” Mr. Romney said on “CBS This Morning.” “[We] had, on occasion, to do things that are tough, to try to save a business.”

When Mr. Carney was asked about that quote Thursday, he said he “would be delighted to recite the statistics about the revival of the auto industry.”

“The fact of the matter is the automobile industry in this country was heading over a cliff and would likely not have survived if not for the decisions this president made,” Mr. Carney said, noting that none of the candidates for the Republican nomination supported the auto bailout.

“What our action was designed to do and did do was prevent the elimination of up to 1 million jobs and create a situation where that industry is now creating jobs again,” he continued. “…Mitt Romney and all the candidates for the nomination opposed the president’s decision and that is certainly something that the president expects to debate when the time comes.”