Mitt Romney: Transcript of ABC/Yahoo News Exclusive Interview

The-- this President's policies have not worked. And the middle class is really suffering. The-- the very poor have a safety net and that's as it should be. The very wealthy are doing just fine. But the middle class is really suffering. And that's one reason why the plans I've put forward bring tax relief to the middle class, provide additional capital from the middle class to get our businesses to grow and thrive, and also I've put in place a plan to scale back the scale of government so that it's not burdening our enterprises and our families, including laying out ideas for Medicare and Social Security, which by the way are-- are pretty broad. I just-- I just gave you a-- topline a moment ago. But a whole series of policies to make sure that-- that people have confidence in America. And middle income Americans can once again-- feel confident that they have a bright future.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You're heading to Michigan, your home state-- for a debate tomorrow night. And a lot of interest there, of course, in the whole issue of the auto industry. We've seen a big comeback-- in the auto industry over the last-- two years since-- the bailout of the auto industry, the restructuring of the industry, which you criticized. You said back in 2008, "If you write a check, they're gonna go out of business." Weren't you wrong about that?

MITT ROMNEY: Actually, read the whole article, George. I said--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I did. I read the whole article.

MITT ROMNEY: --"Don't write a check to these guys." Good. And you saw in there that I said they needed to go through a managed bankruptcy, right?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's exactly what happened. But they-- but the auto industry--

MITT ROMNEY: No, no. No, that's--

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: --also says they needed federal funds.

MITT ROMNEY: --what-- that's-- no, that's what-- that's what I said in the article, George. What I said is-- this is before, by the way-- even President Obama was in office. I wrote an article and said, "These companies, don't write them a check. They've come to Washington asking for money. Don't write them a check. Have them go through managed bankruptcy. And then after that process, if they need help. If they need help, for instance, guaranteeing the warranties of people who bought their cars, then the government can step in and provide that help. But don't just write a check off the bat. And--


MITT ROMNEY: --so I laid out a plan for managed bankruptcy. The head of the-- head of the AF of L-CIO said, "Oh, this is a terrible ideas. The companies can't be taken bankrupt." It turned out that I was right. They finally followed that advice. And the industry is back on its feet.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you're saying you were right, are you saying then what President Obama did was right? Force a managed bankruptcy, along with federal funds?

MITT ROMNEY: What-- what President Obama and President Bush did was to write a check first. Billions and billions of dollars was written to bailout the industry. And then they realized that that was not the answer. I was, frankly, right. They had to go through managed bankruptcy. They finally went through bankruptcy. That was what was necessary in order to get rid of the excess costs. And for them to be able to get on their feet.


MITT ROMNEY: The government wrote those checks, wasted money.

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