President George W. Bush recently spoke to a gathering of auto dealers in Las Vegas, saying that while he believes in the free market under normal conditions, he doesn't regret the $700 billion bailout fund used to rescue General Motors and Chrysler from the brink of collapse. Bush was quoted as saying he'd do it again, and that he didn't want there to be a 21 percent unemployment rate. The former leader avoided addressing remarks from the current gaggle of Republican presidential candidates who have criticized his decision to lend a hand to banks, insurers and automakers.
"If you make a bad decision, you ought to pay," Bush said. "Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy."
Bush championed a $17.4 billion bailout for the two automakers in December of 2008 as part of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said both Bush and current President Barack Obama were mistaken in bailing out the auto industry. Instead, Romney believes GM and Chrysler should have been allowed to go into a controlled bankruptcy from the start.