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