DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -– Republican Mitt Romney addressed the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, telling the assembled business leaders, “What Michigan is feeling will be felt by the entire nation unless we win the economic battle here.”
“Michigan is a bit like the canary in the mineshaft. What's hurting Michigan,” he continued, “will imperil the entire nation's economy."
The central focus of Romney’s pitch to Michigan voters has been getting the state out of what Romney calls a “one-state recession.” Many manufacturing plants in Michigan have either cut back their work force or shut down all together, resulting in the country’s highest unemployment rate, 7.4 percent.
“It is inexcusable to me to see these jobs going away again, and again and again,” Romney said outside a GM plant that had just announced 200 layoffs. “Where does it stop? Is there a point at which someone says ‘you know, that’s enough?’”
His plan to stimulate the economy calls for increased investment in research and development in science and technology, eliminating the savings tax, and working with homeowners to avoid foreclosures.
Crowds have been responding with applause when the Michigan-born Romney mentions his father George, a three-time Michigan governor.
A win in Michigan is has become central to Romney’s candidacy after losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, though he has said he will continue to campaign even if he isn’t victorious. Michigan holds its primary Tuesday.
Romney is locked in a tight race with primary rivals John McCain and Mike Huckabee in polls released this weekend.
- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt