A story by the Associated Press about both political party’s efforts in the swing state of Ohio misstates Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s position on the auto industry bailout.

Here is how AP characterizes it:

Romney opposed using government money to save the car companies in a 2008 op-ed piece in The New York Times, titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Romney preferred a managed bankruptcy, without federal money, and has maintained the rescue was unfair, unnecessary and political payback to labor unions. (Emphasis added.)

“If we had taken your advice, Gov. Romney, about our auto industry, we’d be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China,” Obama said in Monday’s presidential debate.

His statement sparked one of the most contentious moments of the evening, with the two interrupting and arguing over one another about what impact Romney’s idea would have had. “I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry,” Romney said, touting his affection for American cars, his Detroit roots and his father’s leadership of American Motors Corp.

Obama insisted Romney was “trying to airbrush history” and suggested voters should check the record.

The AP apparently failed to follow Obama’s advice and go to the original source. As the Examiner has repeatedly pointed out, Romney did favor federal funding through loan guarantees as part of a managed bankruptcy.

Here is what Romney said the 2008 New York Times op-ed piece:

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk. (Emphasis added.)

In other words, federal loans. The person trying to “airbrush history” here is the Obama campaign. Shame on the Associate Press for falling for it.