January 15th, 2008
06:30 AM ET
4 years ago

On the Trail: Michigan, the morning of the primary

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - I knew we landed in Detroit when a man at the rental counter demanded a GM car. The auto industry is the backbone of the decaying economy here, and that troubled economy is the central issue in today’s Republican primary.

CNN's latest national poll shows the economy is now the most important issue for 35 percent of voters nationwide. That ranks ahead of Iraq, health care, and terrorism. Late yesterday John asked former Gov. Mitt Romney if the country is in a recession. Romney danced around an answer, but 61 percent of Americans think we are - and here in Michigan, most voters we meet are wondering what’s taking so long for help to arrive. Yesterday, when we were scouting diner locations for this morning’s show, all the restaurants we visited were empty. Michiganders say that’s just another sign of their recession.

Romney’s solution seems to be improving the auto industry. His chief rival, Sen. John McCain, contends Michigan needs to accept many manufacturing jobs are lost forever, and that the state needs to focus on retraining its workforce for the new economy. Today, Michigan voters will decide which answer they prefer.

Next, we’re off to Las Vegas, where the economy is booming and a different set of issues are driving voters in this Saturday’s caucuses. We race to the airport right after the show. Once we land there, we’ll make a quick stop at the roulette table, then John goes door to door with campaign volunteers. You can watch what he finds tomorrow on American Morning, when we’ll be live from the Vegas Strip.

– CNN American Morning Producer Rebecca Kutler


Filed under: Michigan • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Attacked by the Establishment

    Ron Paul said we are in a recession. Not sure how deep yet. Time will tell. Enough the government is in panic mode as usual.

    Asking the filthy rich like Bush, Clinton, Romney, etc whether or not we are in a recession is a joke! These people like the filthy rich news anchors in the media can afford to laugh at Ron Paul and the average person when they mention how difficult it is to survive from paycheck to paycheck. Dr. Paul is not hurting but he sure knows how bad the economy is getting and he is the only person who knows how to fix it!

    January 15, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. katharine ryan New York New York

    Best way for Dems to get sixteen years is for Hilary to be Pres candidate and Obama VP. He takes over when she leaves office

    January 15, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. r.burdette

    Congratulations to the governor of Michigan. When she made her remarks blaming the Bush administration for Michigan's economic woes, she alienated even more potential purchasers of Michigan-made automobiles. It's always easier to blame someone else than it is to look in the mirror, isn't it Governor. Michigan's highest tax rates in the nation couldn't have anything to do with their one-state recession. Your state is living (dying) proof that tax and spend liberalism is a failure–pay attention Hillary and Obama and Americans.

    January 15, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Dave, Chicago

    I think this article is a little misleading. Gov. Romney has never danced around the question of the economy. He has repeatedly stated that the country is headed toward recession while Michigan has been in a one state recession for a number of years. Romney also laid out a plan to stimulate the economy especially in Michigan.

    I agree whole-heartedly with Gov. Romney. We are definitely headed toward recession, but we can turn it around with the right leadership. I like his plan and I like his message.

    I will be voting for Mitt.

    January 15, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. big doug

    I agree with Dave in Chicago.

    Mitt has done all he can to address these different topics.

    As for Mac,
    John McCain did his duty 40 years ago in Vietnam. He was unlucky enough to get shot down and captured by the enemy. I respect him for surviving the hell that he and many other brave soldiers went through. All of them should have our sincere gratitude.

    That being said, we are now choosing our next President.

    Mr. John “ITS NOT AMNESTY, THEY HAVE TO PAY A SMALL FINE” McCain could never win the Presidency. McCain would even lose his home state of Arizona where they just repudiated him by enacting the harshest anti-illegal alien law in the nation.

    In 1987 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to what they estimated to be 1 million illegal aliens. It was in reality 3 times that number. Now John McCain and the Democrats estimate that 12 million illegals are here now. Logically they are again greatly underestimating the real number. Under the McCain plan, all of the illegals would be able to bring their entire families to the U.S. All of them would immediately be eligible for government assistance such as food stamps and healthcare. Last year in the Senate, John McCain lead a few misguided Republicans and almost all the Democrats in a failed attempt to pass the amnesty bill. It just barely failed. The Democratic Presidential candidates all support the amnesty bill. That bill will pass in 2009 unless we stop them.

    The media is doing its best to help the Democrats via John McCain. The Democrats would love to see a John McCain nomination.

    A vote for McCain or Huckabee is a vote for the Democrats and economic failure.

    Mitt is the answer.

    January 15, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Colleen Kansas City, Mo

    I wish someone would ask Mitt Romney what kind of car he and his son's drive. As a matter of fact I'd like to know what kind of car all the canidates drive.

    January 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Teni

    Katherine Ryan: Hillary would NEVER pick Obama as her VP, and that's why she's going to lose the general election because her African American supporters will turn on her when they realize it didn't go as they predicted. I'm in Michigan, and I have realized that Mitt Romney will when this state. As for the democrats, I voted Uncommitted.

    January 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. David

    "Michigan's highest tax rates in the nation couldn't have anything to do with their one-state recession. Your state is living (dying) proof that tax and spend liberalism is a failure–pay attention Hillary and Obama and Americans."

    And this country's recession is proof positive that the conservatives' tax-cuts-for-the-rich + outrageous-government-spending = economic disaster. The trickle-down economics redux of the past eight years is the biggest sham in US history. More reason why we have to put a Democrat back in the White House to balance the budget (again), reduce the deficit (again), and restore economic confidence (again).

    Stay out of the Bushes people!

    January 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Monte

    Hillary and Mitt are the candidates with the highest "no way, never vote for them under any circumstances" numbers. Why choose candidates that half of American hates? Further polarization guaranteed.

    January 15, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. charlotte

    Michigan is in big trouble, a taste of what's to come for all the states. The R letter is not a good letter, Race, Recession, Republican...need I say more

    January 15, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Beth, Michigan

    Oops – Colleen in Kansas City. My mistake!

    January 15, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Diana, Detroit

    Contrary to what r.burdette has chosen to believe, it's astronomical health-care costs for employees, the UAW's ineffeciency, competition from lower-wage nations and high gas prices that's killing the Detroit automakers, not Granholm's "tax-and-spend liberalism." Believe it or not, universal health care (gasp! the horror!) could be the one thing that could save the industry. So yes, the fact that Bush has ignored what's going on in Michigan while gleefully watching the health-care industry and his oil buddies rape the public DOES have a lot to do with our one-state recession.

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

    I consider myself an independent and appreciate John McCain's "straight talk" regarding the fact Michigan needs to focus on the new economy. He is absolutely correct. Michigan has the talent and infrastructure to support many different industries successfully. I hope the next President of the United States sees Michigan and its circumstances in the same light as Senator McCain.

    Thank You.

    January 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Jourdan

    No surprise, Romney dances better than the Rockettes. Ask him a difficult or compromising question, he'll sidestep it and slither away.

    January 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Teacher

    The Japanese dont pay auto workers health care costs because they have Universal health care ,saving about $1200.00 on each car they sell here.How can they be so SOCIALIST and still have a good economy ?They educate their kids and are way ahead of our kids in all skills needed for their future.Lets face it this country is just too cheap to do the right thing.

    January 15, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Missy

    Von January 13, 2008 5:31 am ET
    CHECK THIS OUT TO SEE IF IT IS TRUE. GOOGLE THE LADIES NAMES TO GET INFORMATION.
    rachel lanore January 11, 2008 10:15 pm ET
    What does all this say about McCain's character? These blurbs are from goggling his wives…. Carol, Cindy… wow…
    According to the newspaper, McCain returned to Jacksonville in 1973 after more than five years as a prisoner of war to find that his wife was a different person. Carol McCain, once a model, had been badly injured in a car wreck in 1969. The article recounts that her injuries "left her 4 inches shorter and on crutches, and she gained a good deal of weight."
    By 1979, McCain was concerned that his Naval career was not advancing and pondering his future. He met Cindy Hensley, an attractive 25-year-old woman from a wealthy Arizona family. McCain courted her and married her in May 1980 — a month after getting a divorce.
    Carol McCain waited for the return of her husband from his Vietnamese captivity for five and a half long years; as McCain idolator David Grann put it in the New Republic, she was "a kind of modern-day Penelope to McCain's Odysseus." She carried her burden with nobility, and resolve, staying faithful to the man she refused to believe she had lost – even in the face of her own tragedy. It was Christmas Eve, 1969, while driving along a snowbound street, that she went crashing into a telephone pole: the impact hurled her through the windshield. She lost her left leg, ruptured her spleen, and went through a long series of agonizingly painful operations. Before the accident, she had been a statuesque beauty who worked as a model; she came out of it with four inches subtracted from her height, broken in body – but not in spirit. Her love for her war hero husband forbade her from letting him know anything of her condition: he knew nothing of the accident, and she refused to write him about it since it would only make his burden heavier.
    From Justin's website;
    THE RETURN OF THE INGRATE
    Any man would be lucky to have such a fierce, unbending love: she stuck by him, agitating for his release, and living for the day of his return. Her devotion was repaid with rejection. He learned of her accident on the plane home, and wasted no time in getting rid of her. He was soon back to his old tricks of playing the field – "just as he had at the Naval Academy," says Grann – and soon sought a divorce. He openly acknowledges that his behavior was solely responsible for the break-up of his marriage, and seems to glory in the macho role while simultaneously professing at least some sense of remorse: "I think she has reason to be bitter," McCain told one interviewer.
    I think this is going to be a problem again for Him, plus the Keating Five
    _______
    IS IT ALL TRUE? NO BETTER THAN THAT RAT GIULIANI.
    HOW ABOUT ROMNEY OR HUCKABEE?
    ______

    ROMNEY OR HUCKABEE, PLEASE. We all know McCain wants to open the floodgates on illegal aliens and we cannot afford a congress controlled by democrats and McCain as President. THINK ABOUT IT, AMERICA.
    JUST SAY NO TO JOHN McCAIN.

    January 15, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. missy

    NO TO MCCAIN

    January 15, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. MV

    FI January 12, 2008 3:48 pm ET
    Does anybody remember McCain last year in the following:
    Illegal Aliens do the jobs Americans won't do. McCain had the nerve to challenge the American people that he would pay $50 an hour to anyone who would come to his ranch and work the fields the way the Illegal Aliens do.
    Remember the phrase "JOBS AMERICANS WON'T DO?"
    HE'S NOT TALKING ABOUT ILLEGALS BUT HE STILL WANTS TO DO IT. IF HE IS ELECTED, HE WILL WORK WITH KENNEDY AND THE REST OF THE CROWD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. REMEMBER LINDSEY GRAHAM ALSO SUPPORTED THE AMNESTY BILL, FOLKS.
    CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE PUT McCAIN ON THE SPOT AND MAKE HIM TAKE A STAND ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW JUST WHERE THAT MAN STANDS.
    I THOUGHT MITT ROMNEY WAS GOING TO DO IT BUT HE IS NOT TAKING THE FIGHT TO McCAIN. AND FRED THOMPSON IS ONLY INTERESTED IN THUMPING HUCKABEE BECAUSE McCAIN IS HIS FRIEND.
    THIS NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT OUT BEFORE THE SOUTH CAROLILNA PRIMARY. IF YOU WANT AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS, McCAIN IS YOUR GUY.

    January 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    R.BURDETTE

    I'm no fan of our governor but your remarks are utter nonsense. Trade agreements, monetary policies, currency exchange rates, etc. etc. etc. originate in Washington. It's not just about autos and it's not just about Michigan. It's shoes, clothing, toys, electronics, food processing ( Yes... OUR food processing ), steel making, lumber... the list goes on and on. It's not Jennifer Granholm's fault that we are forced to compete against labor rates as low as 90 cents an hour. ( China ). Can you survive on 90 cents an hour R. Burdette?

    January 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. MV Dearborn

    Marti San Diego, CA January 12, 2008 11:17 pm ET
    Michigan, please, vote the issues not who is most likeable. This isn't a race for senior class president. It's also not a time to payback McCain for his service to his country. We tried that once already with Bob Dole and it got us Bill Clinton. Remember? McCain has served his country. Yes, but when the man can only point to one or two accomplishments in 24 years, 24 years!!!, that's far too little. Mitt accomplished far more in 4 years as governor of MA that McCain has ever done in 24 years.
    Let's elect a *proven* leader with a real resume of results. VOTE ROMNEY
    The Real McCain Record
    Obstacles in the way of conservative support.
    By Mark R. Levin
    There’s a reason some of John McCain's conservative supporters avoid discussing his record. They want to talk about his personal story, his position on the surge, his supposed electability. But whenever the rest of his career comes up, the knee-jerk reply is to characterize the inquiries as attacks.
    The McCain domestic record is a disaster. To say he fought spending, most particularly earmarks, is to nibble around the edges and miss the heart of the matter. For starters, consider:
    McCain-Feingold — the most brazen frontal assault on political speech since Buckley v. Valeo.
    McCain-Kennedy — the most far-reaching amnesty program in American history.
    McCain-Lieberman — the most onerous and intrusive attack on American industry — through reporting, regulating, and taxing authority of greenhouse gases — in American history.
    McCain-Kennedy-Edwards — the biggest boon to the trial bar since the tobacco settlement, under the rubric of a patients’ bill of rights.
    McCain-Reimportantion of Drugs — a significant blow to pharmaceutical research and development, not to mention consumer safety (hey Rudy, pay attention, see link).
    And McCain’s stated opposition to the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was largely based on socialist, class-warfare rhetoric — tax cuts for the rich, not for the middle class. The public record is full of these statements. Today, he recalls only his insistence on accompanying spending cuts.
    As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, McCain was consistently hostile to American enterprise, from media and pharmaceutical companies to technology and energy companies.
    McCain also led the Gang of 14, which prevented the Republican leadership in the Senate from mounting a rule change that would have ended the systematic use (actual and threatened) of the filibuster to prevent majority approval of judicial nominees.
    Vote Romney – the candidate with a very impressive record of decades of achievements in business, as governor of MA, and with the SLC Olympics. Romney is a *proven* leader who has shown time and time again that he can actually get things done. Talk is cheap, accomplishments matter.

    January 15, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. MV Lansing

    LET'S ASK OLD JOHN MCCAIN FOR SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT HIS POSITION ON ILLEGAL ALIENS, PLEASE.

    WATCH AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. I DON'T BLAME HIM FOR NOT LIKING GEORGE BUSH FOR THE DIRTY TRICKS THEY PLAYED ON HIM. DO REPUBLICANS REALLY THINK MCCAIN REALLY HAS FORGIVEN THE DIRTY TRICKS?

    JOHN MCCAIN WILL HAVE US KNEE DEEP IN ILLEGAL ALIENS AND WAR. LOOK FOR A WAR WITH IRAN IF MCCAIN IS ELECTED.

    ALSO, DO YOU REMEMBER MCCAIN SINGING TO THE TUNE OF BARBRA ANN BY THE BEACH BOYS: BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN,
    BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN
    BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN

    ALSO, DO YOU REMEMBER MCCAIN SAYING HE WOULD PAY $50 AN HOUR TO ANY AMERICAN WHO WOULD COME TO HIS RANCH AND DO THE HARD WORK THE ILLEGALS ARE DOING NOW? HE SAID THE ILLEGALS DO THE WORK AMERICANS WON'T DO. HE WAS ARROGANT WHEN HE SAID IT. HE DID NOT STOP SAYING IT UNTIL HE LOOKED AT HIS POLL NUMBERS FALLING AND HIS DONATIONS SHRINKING.

    THIS GUY IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT. IF YOU WANT MORE ILLEGAL ALIENS AND MORE WAR, VOTE FOR MCCAIN. OTHERWISE, CHOOSE ANYBODY ELSE EXCEPT LOVERBOY GIULIANI. OF COURSE, MCCAIN APPARENTLY WAS A LOVERBOY HIMSELF BEFORE HE CAUGHT HIMSELF A RICH WIFE.

    January 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Who cares about the Republicans in Michigan? Republicans are what is wrong with America.

    January 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Jorge

    I THINK FRED IS ONE OF THE ALL TIME GREAT SCREEN ACTORS OF OUR GENERATION. HE BEATS REAGAN IN THIS REGARD

    January 15, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. John

    The east side of the state is suffering economically because of the dependance on the auto industry, specifically the Detroit area. The rest of Michigan has so much more to offer! Specifically West Michigan. The economy is healthier, the people are friendly, and the way of life is fine. Michigan may be hurting, but it is not all gloom and doom!

    January 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Ron M. (michigan)

    Outside of the candidates, I'd like to thank the Michigan Legislature for crippling Michigan's primary. It doesn't seemed to get mentioned as much as it should but several of the Democrat candidates aren't on ticket for the Primary. Additionally, the DNC has said it will not seat our Democrat Delegates. Nice! Congratulations Governor Granholm, you and our state's legislature have made Michigan a pointless primary state with your forced assertion that Michigan needs to be more important. Once again, you missed the larger picture. You've denied the people the chance to truly meet the candidates, and to freely vote for the candidates of thier choice. Bravo!

    January 15, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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