January 15th, 2008
06:15 AM ET
6 years ago

Roberts: Good Morning from a diner in Warren

 Roberts was live in Warren, Michigan this morning.
Roberts was live in Warren, Michigan this morning.

WARREN, Michigan (CNN) - Good morning from the National Coney Island Diner in Warren, Michigan. It’s just after 3 a.m., and it’s still three hours until the diner opens, but already there is a buzz in the air that goes beyond the neon lights that entice you to try “Coca-Cola,” “Beer and Wine” and “Sweets.”

This year, for the Republicans at least, Michigan’s contest takes on an importance rarely seen before. By moving up the date of the primary, Michigan - once little more than an afterthought in the nominating process - has become an active player, at least on the Republican side.

The state today has the potential to make or break the candidacy of native son Mitt Romney, was born in Michigan, where his father was a popular three-term term governor. He needs to do well, but John McCain has the electoral history in Michigan, having won the primary in 2000. The two candidates are taking contrasting message on the trail here. Mitt Romney says he believes he can bring back lost jobs in the auto industry and is pledging that in the first 100 days of his presidency, he would convene a summit to rebuild the Big Three automakers. McCain, on the other hand, believes many of those jobs are gone forever, and would focus instead on retraining for jobs of the future. Whose vision will Michigan Republicans buy?

There’s a wild card here, though. In 2000, an estimated 52 percent of voters in the GOP primary were not Republicans: Michigan has an “open” system, and Democrats and independents regularly participate in that party's contest. With the top three Democratic candidates not campaigning here because of Democratic National Committee sanctions - and, in fact, only Hillary Clinton's name on the ballot - there’s a good chance Democrats who want to make their vote count might vote in the Republican primary.

Is Michigan completely irrelevant for the Democrats? Not according to the state's governor, Jennifer Granholm. Though the state lost all of its party delegates when it moved the primary up before the February 5 cutoff date set by the DNC, Granholm believes the early position has focused new attention on Michigan’s economic woes - attention it would have never received had it s voters gone to the polls on or after February 5. Certainly, it does seem that we have been paying more attention to the auto industry and job losses in Michigan than in years past.

For decades, the media has trended toward covering the horserace rather than the issues. CNN has made a major commitment to change that mindset. We believe the way we can best serve our valued viewers is to help them make up their minds about the candidates by providing them with information. So, for the next month, as we take American Morning on the road to the early primary states, expect a lot of substance in our coverage. We hope you enjoy the change!

–CNN American Morning Anchor John Roberts


Filed under: John Roberts • Michigan
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Mark G., BBH, ME

    Vote Ron Paul, or neer complain when you are broke, the fat cats are laughin gin the Caymans, and what was once america is now a North American Union, you have no excuse, you have been given a chance, embrace it or forever face the regret of being duped.

    January 15, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. West Palm Beach

    Hey, John, get one of those CNN News Definition T-Shirts. Might be a helpful reminder while out on the road :)

    January 15, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. krited

    I lived in MA when Mitt was governor. He inherited a state that had a strong economy, solid tax base, and liberal social policies. He was nothing to reduce our taxes, build the economy or moderate the state's costly approach to social issues. He was nothing more than a caretaker governor. At no point did I ever witness any action that gave me confident that he had the experience to be governor, let alone to be president. Keep this in mind when you go to the polls today.

    January 15, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. BLW

    John, You doa great job on American Morning and I like that you go to these diners and do a show from them. I hope you go to the swing states in the general election and report from a diner as well.
    BLW
    Alabama

    January 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    MICHIGAN PRIMARY, BABY!!

    I just can't wait to get off work to exercise my right to vote...."uncommitted"...for the CHANCE that we will get uncommitted delegates (they toss your ballot if you write in a candidate, believe it or not)...with the CHANCE that they might vote for my candidate of choice...of course ONLY IF the DNC decides to give Michigan back its delegates.

    I feel so important.

    January 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Maureen

    I voted for Clinton today in the Michigan Primary. I was tempted to vote for the least favorable Republican - but in the end I went with my gut. If either Edwards or Obama become the party nominee in November I will gladly vote for them, but voting "Uncommited" seems stupid. Why bother voting?? At least Hilary Clinton kept her name on our ballot and told us that she wanted our vote - neither Edwards or Obama WANT your vote...they failed to put their names on our ballot.

    A vote for UNCOMMITTED is NOT a vote for Obama or Edwards - they are NOT on the ballot.

    January 15, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Dave

    I'm also voting for Romney.

    January 15, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Dave

    BTW – krited, I do not believe you lived in MA when Romney was in office. MA was an absolute mess when he took over as governor. How can you make claims that there was a strong economy?

    I think you lying to get people to vote for McCain.

    January 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    to "orange" at 9:43 am: please find me a quote or article in which Obama EVER called Hillary's campaign racist.

    He did call her comments ill-advised, which they were. She knows that they were, which is why she is trying to grasp at straws to somehow throw this back in Obama's face

    January 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Scott, Detroit

    CNN: Please cover how Michigan Democrats have had their voices silenced by the DNP. There has been a lot of blame on the candidates, on the governor, on our senators, etc. But the REAL culprit in this debacle is the NATIONAL Democratic party who made the decision to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates.

    THEY have decided that Michigan voters will not hear from the candidates during this primary. Therefore the only voices being heard here are those of the Republicans, and for Dems who are borderline dems, only hearing from the right is a good way to move them over for the Republicans.

    The State of Michigan has been gravely disenfranchised by the DNP. Someone needs to point that out on air.

    Today I probably would have voted for Clinton. But I'm voting Uncommitted to take a stand AGAINST the party, not for any candidate or against any candidate.

    I think the way the ballot is, the way the candidates were strong-armed to pull their names from the ballot, the way a write-in is excluded is all horribly managed and disengenuous to every voter.

    Please CNN, give us a voice. Let the nation know that the DNP has disenfranchised Michigan with these sophomoric rules. It's time for a NEW primary system. It's time to bring it to the table to prevent this terrible behavior from happening again.

    Kudos to the Republicans for being more mature about their primaries in Michigan & Florida.

    January 15, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Beth, Michigan

    I blame our state legislature, too. They can't even put together a state budget under pressure.
    But I'm still not going to vote uncommitted. It's not my responsibility to give my support to those Democrats whose names don't appear on the ballot. If they really wanted to hear who the Michigan Democrats support, they should have kept their names on the ballot. I understand that they were just trying to follow "party rules," but Hillary's name is still on the ballot and she's not getting penalized.
    Plus, the Michigan Democratic delegates being able to attend the Denver convention is a best-case scenario at best.

    January 15, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Joe

    Beth, I'm sorry to hear that your state, like most of the country is in economic hard times. But the truth is the Republican party is group that relies on talk and band-aids to get the job done. Neither are what this country needs at this time. Lowering my taxes might help me afford more plastic crap from Walmart, but what does it do to the job of the U.S. factory worker? We are a nation that is penny wise and pound foolish. If we ever want to keep jobs in this country, fix the environment, have socialized healthcare, end the war in Iraq, eliminate our dependency on foreign oil, or any other major issue; we need to buckle down and come together. Our tax dollars need to be used effectively and prudently, not squandered on the war machine. When it comes to big spending, the hypocritical Republicans are anything but conservative, but when it comes to spending money to actually do the right things that will improve our way of life, a true "family value", they claim it would hurt the middle class. I'm not a huge fan of the Dems either, but at least they aren't as blood and oil thirsty as the GOP. Just remember all the talk and promises won't put Michigan back together again.

    January 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Ron Az

    I would like to ask John McCain a question! What kind of job are you going to retrain the Michigan men and women for? Our government has let every corporation in the United States send its jobs overseas and still gave them tax breaks. No Jobs!! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO RETRAIN THEM FOR???
    penalize every company who sends jobs overseas, cut their tax breaks and make them pay import fees to bring their own products back to the U.S. that will make them think twice before sending jobs to different countries.

    January 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Ann, mid-Michigan

    I voted uncommitted today because my five year old told me to, and he was right to do so. I am an Obama supporter and my husband supports Edwards. We had no other choice. I considered crossing over to the Republicans. But the last time I did that, I got an enormous amount of junk mail from various causes aligned with the Republican party.

    The Republican-led MI legislature gambled, figuring that a state with over nine million people might actually be considered important to the national parties. Apparently it matters to the Republican National Committee, because MI got to hold onto at least half of its delegates. The Democratic National Committee however, fell for what I consider to be a Republican ploy, and stripped MI of all its delegates. Delegates aren't even allowed to register for hotel rooms under the DNC for the Denver convention.

    January 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Gobama

    STATUS QUO MUST GO!

    Americans should DISALLOW A CLINTON THIRD TERM! . . . .

    It is very obvious that the self-destructive Bill Clinton is using his wife to win a THIRD CLINTON TERM in the defiled White House with the interns.

    Last time the self-destructive Clintons built up a huge White House legacy and then proceeded to foul their White House nest and undermine the US Presidency, which has not recovered after 8 years.

    It will take a character of Obama's stature to fix the US Presidency.

    January 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Amanda

    not sure how Michigan could "make or break" Romney's campaign? He is the front runner, and rightfully so, with the most delegates so far in IA, WY, NH primaries! He is a completely solid, well rounded individual, with credentials and leadership to take our nation forward.....GO MITT!

    January 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Carol Stern

    I lived in MA when Mitt was governor. He inherited a state that had a weak economy, reduced tax base, and faltering social policies. He reduced government expenses and the taxes to pay for them, he built the economy and reduced the state's costly approach to social issues. He was an excellent governor and leader. His extraordinary work to get all MA residents health insurance to fixing the budget and safety problems of the "big dig" infrastructure problems around Boston give me great confidence in his ability to lead our nation as president. Keep this in mind when you go to the polls today.

    January 15, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. xtina - chicago IL

    a commentor above said it right – the unions are what's ruining some companies. Not all unions are negative and counterproductive, but some have gotten so greedy that they are pricing these manufacturers out of business – AND they want the car companies to be like giant health care managers, in addition to producing the cars. Some unions even endorse a Pres. candidate without consulting its members- so much for the voice of the rank and file members. (I am in such a union that made an endorsement without member votes)

    January 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Sue in Michigan

    Well, Rebecca,
    Romeney may be grabbing the credit for the Olympics, but in reality there was a huge federal bailout (you and me!) for it to work. It really wasn't that he took the broken pieces and glued them together-he got a bunch of government money too. So in order for him to do the same for Michigan, he will need a lot of federal dollars. Last time I checked, we were in debt up the wazoo to China-don't think the help is there to give!
    I wish it were.

    January 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Teacher

    Watch Lou Dobbs tonight or read his new book ..."Independents Day" if you would like to get some insight as to where this country is heading and what type of candidate we need to get us through it .

    January 15, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. aj huntington ny

    ron in az – the government owes jobs to people? since when ? didn't the unions screw up the car business by pricing them out of competition?

    January 15, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Dale

    John,
    You did a great job this morning. I hope that when Virginia has its turn to vote that you come home but just a little south of Northern Va., to Richmond, to cover the primary.

    January 15, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Sam

    I WANT SOMEONE TO ASK OBAHMA ABOUT HIS MUSLUM RELIGON. I BELIEVE THAT MOST OF AMERICA IS IN THE DARK ABOUT THIS TRUTH. IF SOMEONE WOULD ASK HIM THIS QUESTION THAN I KNOW THAT AMERICA WOULD NOT SUPPORT HIM AT ALL!!!
    I'M MOVING TO CANADA IF A MUSLUM GETS VOTED IN TO RUN OUR COUNTRY.
    COME ON REPORTERS ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS THAT'S WHAT WE ARE DEPENDING ON YOU TO DO. SO ARE THERE ANY TAKERS WHO WOULD BE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO ASK ABOUT THE TRUTH? OR ARE ALL OF YOU AFRAID OF OFFENDING SOMEONE, GIVE ME A BREAK...YOU PEOPLE GRILLED ROMENY AND HUCKABEE AND GOT THE TRUTH WHAT IS UP WITH YOU PEOPLE? WHAT HAPPENED TO SEEKING THE TRUTH IN JOURNALISM?
    YOU ARE ALL COWARDS AND ARE BETRAYING OUR COUNTRY IF YOU CARE TOO MUCH OF OFFENDING ANYONE.
    YOU JOURNALISTS ARE OBLIGATED TO TELL THE PEOPLE THE TRUTH.
    SO WHATCHA GONNA DO?

    January 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Sam

    Thomas don't be so shallow! Get to know the candidates and what they stand for!

    January 15, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Matt

    "Expect a lot of substance in our coverage." Really? Substance, huh? I almost forgot that I was reading a website whose front page includes "Britney" under its "Hot Topics" heading.

    January 15, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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