Politics & Government
6:06 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Stateside: Auto industry's place in the debate

The auto industry continues to resonate throughout this year’s presidential election.

Cyndy Canty spoke with Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Daniel Howes, business columnist for the Detroit News, about the auto industry’s role in last night’s presidential debate.

“It drives home the point how important the industrial Midwest is in this election,” said Howes.

Obama suggested last night that Mitt Romney called for Detroit’s bankruptcy.

This was a point of contention for Mr. Romney and, according to Howes, for good reason.

“Mitt Romney did not make the argument to let Detroit go bankrupt,” said Howes. “I think it is just disingenuous to say his whole MO was to say, ‘Let them go bankrupt.’”

For Lessenberry, the bailout was an effective move that gave momentum back to the industry.

“The national feeling I get is that this is the one thing that worked. The bailout took place, the auto industry paid back a lot of the money, not all of it, but they are profitable again and there are jobs. The one place in the country where this really having an effect is northwest Ohio,” said Lessenberry.

What both Lessenberry and Howes found problematic with last night’s debate was not that the bailout was mentioned, but how it was used.

“It is being used, inaccurately, as a political bludgeon in this campaign,” said Howes.

But did last night’s debate change any undecided minds?

“Romney was very weak in this debate. This probably didn’t change a lot of minds, but it certainly didn’t give Romney any yardage,” said Lessenberry.

Be sure to look for where the two candidates spend their time during these final two weeks of the campaign.

“There is a belief that this whole thing is going to be settled in the industrial Midwest. I find that kind of delicious,” said Howes.

-Cameron Stewart

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