POLITICS
11/09/2011 08:42 pm ET | Updated Jan 09, 2012

Mitt Romney Asserts Constancy When Asked About Auto Industry Bailout, Cites Marriage, Faith (VIDEO)

Offering to demonstrate what he called his consistency as a political candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney cited, during Wednesday night's presidential debate, the fact that he's belonged to the Mormon church for his lifetime and been married to the same woman for 42 years.

"I am a man of steadiness and constancy," Romney said. "I don't think you will have somebody who has more of those attributes than I do."

"If I'm president of the United States, I will be true to my family, my faith and my country," he added, "and I will never apologize for the United States of America."

Romney was addressing, specifically, the charge that he is a finger-to-the-wind pol, willing to abandon any principle for political gain. The fact that he turned to biographical attributes to argue otherwise (he also noted that he served at private equity firm Bain Capital for 25 years), may serve the purpose of disputing that point. But it also left open questions about where he stands on specific policy matters.

Before that segment, Romney was pressed on one of those policy positions: his difficult-to-pin-down assessment of whether or not the government should have bailed out the automotive industry between late 2008 and early 2009. As in the past, he insisted that he had been perfectly consistent on the matter.

His view, he reiterated, was that a managed bankruptcy process should have been pursued, rather than propping up the big three automakers with taxpayer funds until they ultimately went through a variation of that process.

"My plan, we would have had a private sector bailout with the right private sector restructuring... as opposed to government playing its heavy hand," he said.

The crowd in Michigan -- one of the states directly (and positively) affected by the bailout -- cheered his answer.