'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. Rick in AZ

    Mitt says he was born in Michigan.. I demand to see his "long form" Birth Certificate.

    February 14, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Publius Novus

    "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." I notice Willard didn't name any.

    February 14, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. carrie

    Wonder if the son of Detriot understands he has been disowned !

    February 14, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    The GOP wanted the American auto industry to fail so there would be less American union members. And of course as usual the GOP failed.
    The GOP will face the natural consequences of being anti- America in the elections this fall.
    Ask Scott walker about being a Koch Bros toadie.

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

    "The Path To Prosperity saves Medicare for future generations."

    HAHAHAHAHA. The Pathology of Plutocracy destroys Medicare, creates something entirely different that would over time force seniors to pay more and more and more to afford health care and then slps the name "Medicare" on it. That's ALL it does. Ryan's CouponCare Crapshoot doesn't save Meidcare: it creates a completely different and entirely ineffective replacement for Medicare and then tries to call it Medicare. What's in a name? NOTHING. Yo have to look under teh hood and pay attention to the experts who have modeled it out and shown that people in their 30s today would be completely hosed by it beacuse the "vouchers" wouldn't put a significant dent in their health care and insurance costs by the time they're in their 60s and 70s.

    It's like claiming you saved your children from drowning by shooting them in the head. "Well, they didn't drown." Ridiculous.

    February 14, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Dave

    Son of Detroit???? MIchigan is going to show you just how much they love you. While they are trying to put food on the table for their families, You Ro money are llying thru your teeth about caring for true Americans just barely getting by. They are going to show you just how much they like the safety net remark. Try explaining the Cayman Islands accouts to these fine people & you will lose badly.

    February 14, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Paul

    Do you have your birth certificate for proof that you are a "son of Detroit"?

    February 14, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. kayla

    when he was in florida, he said he wish he could claim he was latino, just like he claims he is the son of detroit

    February 14, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. NVa Native

    truthy door ~ 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.
    We all know you're paid to act the fool, but must you substantiate all the negative stereotypes of arrogance and ignorance associated with neo-cons?
    We know your only purpose is deception and misdirection.

    February 14, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    I loved Ritchie Cunningham, and Opie too... but I don't think they should be President of the United States.

    February 14, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. rs

    So, the "Son of Detroit" thought that GM and Chrysler were better off dead? A strange relationship between the son and Detroit, I'd say.
    Can Republicans even fathom what would have happened when GM closed its doors? The ripple effect through the insudtries that supported GM would have lead to the loss of another million jobs- yet they think that would have been o.k.

    their inability to think things through is astounding.

    February 14, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Do you have anything to contribute, Four, besides name calling? You waste more intelelctual capital than any poster I've seen on here with your juvenile posts. What solutions do you propose to save Medicare without destroying the program, or do we go back to Magic Ronnie's Wonderful Fantasy of cutting taxes, increasing spending and balancing the budget all at once. Most Michigan seniors saw their life savings wiped out by the banks the conservatives refused to regulate, and you needle them by bringing up interest rates on their CDs? The housing market is the key to the problem: improve that and the recovery is stronger: or is it that you don't want the economy to recover because you can't bear to see a Democrat succeed where a Republican has failed so miserably? Be an American, for once.

    February 14, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. beevee

    This "panderer in chief" is at it again trying to get conservative michiganians to his side. His business advice of not bailing Detroit auto industry with sitmulus money would have had disastrous conseuences on many mMichigan families. Obviously he is not such an stute businessman and wrongly predicted the end of auto industry in Detroit if government bails it out.

    February 14, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. J Davis

    You are no Son of Detroit Mr Romney !! You bailed on us, like so many did. Now, you want us to support you???? !@#LL No!!

    February 14, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Larry in Houston

    @ Kyon – You are Spot ON !! I Hope everyone reads Your Post – ( lots of truth to it )

    February 14, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Just remember, folks, truth and four know more than the rest of us. Listen to what they have to say, and you will have a song in your heart and a spring in your step as you treat virtually everyone around you with hatred and contempt, just as they do. Ah, they are so inspiring, and to think they have probably never really accomplished anything, like PaOutofWork and FIELD1stSGT, who are still waiting to move out of their parents' basements. Taran, on the other hand is civil: we can conclude Taran reads something other than Glen Beck's approved list, and can actually quote things in proper context. Congratulations, Taran, you've beaten the odds for a conservative actually using their God-given gifts for something other than generating bile.

    February 14, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. apetra

    bankruptcy for the auto companies would have meant going before a federal judge empowered to rewrite uneconomical labor contracts based on unrealistic forecasts of a pre-recession economy. that would have saved jobs, increased employment, saved detroit without the government check. instead, the obama adminstration socked taxpayers AND bondholders with crazy wages for a select few, leaving intact the albatross around detroit's neck.

    February 14, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Mikey

    @Four – "The Path To Prosperity saves Medicare for future generations."

    Paul Ryan's plan provides every senior with a voucher to buy health insurance coverage. The value of that voucher is supposed to increase at the rate of inflation – say 3%. Medical costs have been increasing at near 10% for years.

    Let's assume the value of the voucher at $15,000 and see what happens in 20 years.
    Value of voucher = $27,092.
    Cost of policy = $100,912.


    February 14, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Chameleons still change color even though they know you're looking right at them. Same with Mittens. We're watching him put on a different costume every place he sets foot, but he stil just keeps on doing it. I dunno what's more sad...him for doing it and showing what a pandering bufoon he is or his supporters for buying the whole act.

    February 14, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Anomic Office Drone

    This "Son of Detroit" wrote an op ed for the New York Times in 2008 called "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt". With a son like that...

    February 14, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. MTATL67

    I'd say he is more like the deadbeat dad Rep. Joe Walsh from Illinois who owes over $100,000.00 back child support.

    February 14, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Bart in Omaha

    This guy is a severe liar and a severe phony. He says that tax payers are on the hook for billions, but he fails to mention that all the money has been paid back. It was a loan that America will reap all of the interest in jobs that were saved. Shame on Mitt – he will say anything to gain power.

    February 14, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Veritas

    I bought a GMC Sierra yesterday. Beautiful truck. This was thanks to President Obama's saving of the American auto industry. What did Mitt give me? A good laugh.

    February 14, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. cali girl

    Taran, Four and Truth, all or your comments are coming out of your pie holes, and you know nothing of what you are talking about. Ask any person in Detroit who is works for an auto maker and ask them if they wanted to be unemployed, not have food on their table, not put their kids in college.
    consider this also: the auto industry would have left parts makers, bolt and nut makers, dealerships, auto parts stores, and countless others business that relate everything they do to the auto industry in shambles. Get your facts straight before you play the blame game on Obama and get a life.
    I would much rather live in this leftist socialist country than in a communist one all three of you propose. Thanks so much for all your imput, all the nonsense it was.

    February 14, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    You cannot speak sense to four the door, he's a paid Mormon stooge for rotney.

    February 14, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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