GOP candidates touch on manufacturing, auto bailouts at Michigan debate

Nov 10, 2011

Eight contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination talked jobs and the economy last night at CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote" debate.

The debate took place at Oakland University in suburban Detroit. But for the most part, the candidates spoke little about issues specific to Michigan or the Midwest.

One exception was the issue of whether the government should have propped up the domestic auto industry. The answer seemed to be a universal “no.”

Former Massachusetts Governor and Michigan native Mitt Romney says the auto industry bailout ended up  “giving G-M to the U-A-W and Chrysler to Fiat.”

“[With] my plan…we would have had a private sector bailout, private sector restructuring and bankruptcy with the private sector guiding the direction, as opposed to what we had with the government playing its heavy hand," Romney said.

Romney’s opponents have accused him of trying to take both sides of the auto bailout issue.

One candidate did try to push the issue of American manufacturing, though. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum says the government should play  some role in boosting that sector.

“If you let the marketplace work and don’t try to compete against other countries, guess what? You’re gonna have happen what’s happening. Which is you’re hollowing out the middle of America without having any manufacturing jobs.”

Santorum says he’d combat that with his 0-0-0 plan, which would basically eliminate corporate taxes on the manufacturing sector.