'I am a son of Detroit,' Romney says
February 14th, 2012
12:12 PM ET
6 years ago

'I am a son of Detroit,' Romney says

(CNN) – Though better associated with another state beginning with 'M,' Mitt Romney wants the Republican voters of Michigan to know he is one of them.

He was born in and grew up in the state, and it's the message behind a new campaign television advertisement and op-ed, which was published in Tuesday's The Detroit News. "Michigan has been my home and this is personal," he says in the ad.

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In both the ad and op-ed, Romney focuses on the auto industry bailout, arguing that it is stifling "innovation, enterprise, and opportunity." The federal government should sell off its automaker stock, he writes in the op-ed.

"The shares need to be sold in a responsible fashion and the proceeds turned over to the nation's taxpayers," he wrote.

CNNMoney: Should the U.S. government sell its shares in GM?

To carry the state which he won 2008 op-ed, Romney needs to pull ahead of Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has an advantage in recent Michigan polling. Romney will be supported in the state by almost $900,000 of television advertizing coming from the super PAC backing him as he makes the case for his turnaround ability - and against President Barack Obama.

"The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business," he wrote in the op-ed. "The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama's management of the American economy are evident in what he did."

Romney found himself explaining "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," the headline of a 2008 op-ed and potentially a tough sell in a region where unemployment reached 16% and still remains above the national average. In the op-ed and on the campaign trail, Romney has argued for restructuring the automakers through "managed bankruptcy," saying that to reform their businesses for the better, "Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."

"Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself," he wrote in the 2008 op-ed, published in The New York Times. "With it, the automakers will stay the course – the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses."

The bailouts, a product of both the Bush and Obama administrations, resulted in what Romney called "a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style."

"American taxpayers have been left on the hook for billions to benefit unions and the union bosses who contributed millions to Barack Obama's election campaign," Romney writes. "We should not be back on a road like the one that brought us Freddie Mac and the housing crisis. It is a road with endless hazards. It is not the American way of making cars."

The president criticized – though not by name – those in Romney's school of thought in a January appearance at the Washington Auto Show.

"And it's good to remember that the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die," Obama said, according to a White House transcript, "because of folks coming together, we are now back in a place where we can compete with any car company in the world."

Earlier this year, Romney found himself defending his comments that government should not "try and stop the foreclosure process" in Nevada – a state which he eventually won with 50% of the vote.

But the picture is different in Michigan, where a weekend poll of likely GOP shows Romney trailing Santorum, 33% to 27%. The difference is within the survey's sampling error.

Romney won Michigan in the 2008 GOP primary by a nearly 10 point margin over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Romney's ad splices footage of the candidate driving through faded neighborhoods with wistful images of the auto industry's past.

"Remember going to the Detroit Auto Show with my dad," Romney sais in the ad. "That was a big deal. How in the world did an industry and its leaders and its unions get in such a fix that they lost jobs, that they lost their future?"

The ad does not criticize his rivals - which has been the specialty of Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Romney. The group is pumping $640,000 in television advertising into the state starting Tuesday, the organization told CNN on Monday. Previously the group purchased $250,000 worth of airtime, according to CNN's advertising consultant Kantar Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Prominent Michigan Democrats defended the bailout and criticized Romney for "misleading voters" in a Michigan Democratic Party conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

"He is against everything that Michigan is for and even his family name can not cover that up," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said. Rep. John Dingell added, "It is clear that Mitt Romney hasn't lived in Michigan in a long time."

The federal government put over $60 billion into two US automakers, General Motors and Chrysler, which has since been paid back. Ford did not receive bailout funds.

Also see:

Romney seeks to unite conservatives

Protestors disrupt Santorum event, get arrested

National Review calls for Gingrich to leave race

Pro-Romney super PAC increases buy in Michigan

Filed under: Michigan • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Really?

    Four and The Door, I must say your ignorance is astounding. The fact that jobs were saved, and the AMERICAN auto industry was able to keep on kicking is ENOUGH to applaud, AND justify the bailout. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Where were your Republican cronies with alternative options? "Let Detroit go Bankrupt" was the response. And then what? Idiots.

    February 14, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    ... In fact, there's quite a few out there with the opinion that in light of Amurika's aging vehicle fleet on the road right now and the pent up demand for newer automobiles starting to reach critical mass, they've opined that when that damn bursts, it's likely to help kick recovery into much higher gear...and they think that's going to be soon. You can look these things up for yourself.
    I hope you are correct and I agree that this is likely. My point with previous post was that market forces are powerful and the reason why GM, Ford, MINI, Volkswagon and all of the other auto companies will or will not do well. Who knows, maybe we are on the cusp of unimaginable prosperity because of something we may not have even thought of yet. I hope so.

    February 14, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Satberry

    The same son he said let them go bankrupt.What father would need a son like that Willard.You would crawl through hell to be president.Please go away how many times do we have to reject you Willard.

    February 14, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Namejkane fl

    Well we can't give the republicans credit for auto sucesses because the haven't done anything for three years. Republican clowns.

    February 14, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    How about a SOB? That's what you REALLY are.

    February 14, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    How about a SOB? That's what you REALLY are.

    February 14, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

    "But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost." – Willard Milton Romney 2008 "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" op-ed
    WRONG once again Willard!!! We bet on American workers and we WON!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 14, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. mike

    Romney will say and do what ever it takes to become POTUS .We the 99% will make sure that does not happen.

    February 14, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Dave

    Can a MORMON get a 1.3 BILLION DOLLAR EARMARK? You Mitt are pathetic!!!!!!

    February 14, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. mike

    Romneys no son of Detroit. He is the son of the Koch brothers and no one buys his lies. I'll bet you 10,000 bucks
    he will not be POTUS. We are the 99% and we vote.

    February 14, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Kyon

    I am not really part of any party, but I have a strong distaste for Republicans. They have a strong history of Corruption and Lies. Modern times, they had a lot of political machines and stuff like that. Looking at the history of America, Republicans were only good during Lincoln's presidency and right afterwards they have only corruption. I don't think they have my best interests at heart. Republicans generally support the greedy owners of Corporations of the north back in the day and those guys just want to make money off of us by bankrupting the normal Americans

    February 14, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Max.

    What a JERK !!!!!

    How can Romney who previously wished that Michigan go 'Bankrupt' as the 'Motor City', and expect them to support him now? Isn't he a true representative of what a 'JERK' is?

    Oh! what a JERK!!!!

    February 14, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. john

    I think Romney is dilussional he flip flops more than a fish on a hot beach.

    February 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! A few thousand is "a lot"??!!! And ALL of them had to be RECALLED!! Not a big problem because there were so FEW out there!! Isn't it a tad early in the day to be so drunk sniffy???"

    Studies commissioned for places like the Center for Entrepreneuship and Technology at UC Berkley have modeled electric and hybrid car growth as a pecentage of the US fleet and predicted that they will comprise 24% of the entire US light vehicle fleet by 2030. The effect is that oil imports are projected to be 18%-38% lower...and we know under whose desks the GOP does its most vehement pandering. Wanna go another round?

    February 14, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. westward

    Seniors in Michigan – Do you realize that Romney is going to severely cut your medicare and social security a la the Paul Ryan plan in order to ramp up defense spending and to fund additional tax cuts for the wealthy.

    A vote for Romney is a vote against your own best interests.

    February 14, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Working man

    Employee cant do anything but accept it what happened to due process mitt want all states to be at will employment states

    February 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Romney would be a lot more credible if he actually went to Detroit, and then said that to a crowd. He could do it safe and sound at a nice hotel. Is that one still there with the New Orleans name? Pontchertrain, I think it was? Nice place. Most places that serve a club sandwich give you a sandwich cut into the classic 4 triangles. That place gives you 6.

    February 14, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    ThinkAgain just summed Willard ALL up. Nothing more needs to be said.

    February 14, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Jules

    Really – with your fortunes offshore and in Switzerland you really think anybody in or around Detroit gets you?

    February 14, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Dave

    Hi, my name is Ro money, I wished they would of just let Detroit go bankrupt!!! I like rigging elections & denying people the right to vote. I also really enjoy buying the straw polls & busing people in & paying for their vote. I really enjoy hiding money away in a foreign land. I loved the time when I pulled a lot of strings & got the Us Government to hand me 1.3 Billion on a silver platter for the 02 games. I know, that money could have gone to the needy, but the heck with them. I have personality of a table but all the doe in the world. I am Ro money. I am better than anyone. I love the fact that I was a highly ranked person in te Mormon cult in Mass & have a say that no one of color can be a LDS ELDER.

    February 14, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Another phony file pic, CNN? That certainly was not taken any time this year.

    February 14, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. once upon a horse

    well he got the first FIVE words right anyway...

    February 14, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Dan

    Sorry Mitt, but Americans respect someone who understands what it's like to build a neighborhood and friendship, not someone who moves from mansion to mansion just so he can say he lived in the area.

    Mitt Romney is your typical carpetbagger. Hold onto your wallet and protect your children when Mitt comes to town.

    February 14, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Seniors in Michigan – Do you realize that Romney is going to severely cut your medicare and social security a la the Paul Ryan plan in order to ramp up defense spending and to fund additional tax cuts for the wealthy.
    Boy did you miss that boat, wayward! The Path To Prosperity saves Medicare for future generations. Obama is the only one who has cut Medicare. But he has no plan to save it. Unless I guess increasing taxes is considered a plan.

    And Michigan seniors, how are your CD's doing to support your retirement? Not so well now, huh? That's because Obama's man in the Fed Ben Bernanke continues to keep interest rates at nothing to try and drive the housing market back in shape. Yeah, that's not working so well, either.

    February 14, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. My name is Jose Jimenez

    More like the delinquent son. What won't this pandering fool not say?

    February 14, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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