This claim has been a cornerstone of President Obama’s campaign in Ohio, where polls show a tight race. But is it true?

Here is Mitt Romney’s op-ed piece about the auto bailouts, published in the New York Times on November 18, 2008. In it, Romney promoted tax reform and managed bankruptcy as alternatives to the auto bailout:

It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.

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. In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.

As blogger Patterico noted two weeks ago, “Romney did not indicate that he wanted to liquidate the auto companies. He did say there should be guarantees and government help.”

With 27 hours to go before Election Day begins, Obama is still lying about Romney’s position on the auto bailout. This is how he wants to spend the final hours of his campaign.

Will any of the MSM fact-checkers call him out? Don’t bet on it.