U.S. Markets closed

Clinton: Auto bailout most important Obama move

Sam Hananel, Associated Press

Former President Bill Clinton speaks to the 2012 United Auto Workers union (UAW) National Community Action Program Conference, Thursday, March 1, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton says the auto industry bailout was the single most important decision by President Barack Obama — even bigger than pushing his health care overhaul through Congress.

Clinton made the remark Thursday to more than 1,000 members of the United Auto Workers at an annual conference in Washington.

The former president also criticizes Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has said the government should not have used taxpayer money to rescue General Motors and Chrysler.

Clinton says Romney's father would be "turning over in his grave." The elder Romney was chief executive at American Motors and a former governor of Michigan.

Obama himself vigorously defended the bailout when he addressed the autoworkers two days ago.