Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was one of the most vehement critics of the government auto bailout.
Now he says that the government’s $15 billion in loans won’t be enough to save the weakest of the former Big Three, Chrysler LLC.
“I don't think we ever should have bailed out Chrysler and General Motors," he told The Detroit News.
"We should have let them go into bankruptcy, emerge, and become viable corporations again."
McCain says unions are largely responsible for the bailout.
"It was all about the unions. The unions didn't want to have their very generous contracts renegotiated, so we put $80 billion into both General Motors and Chrysler.
“And anybody who believes that Chrysler is going to survive, I'd like to meet them," he said.
"We see the automotive industry, and my heart goes out to the citizens of Detroit, really in the tank. Yet we have manufacturing plants all over the South, which are not bound by some of the labor rules and contracts that make them non-competitive."
Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan declined to comment on McCain's remarks.
Whatever the plight of Chrysler, General Motors seems to be faring better.
GM says it generated $3.3 billion in cash in the third quarter and plans to start repaying its government loans early.
“The numbers are encouraging,” auto analyst Maryann Keller told Bloomberg.
“What it demonstrates is that the government gave GM a reorganized balance sheet that made them more competitive.”
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