Feature

Showdown in Michigan

Mitt Romney helped his chances of a much-needed win in the Michigan primary by blaming auto-industry regulation for the state's economic troubles, said Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic Online. Who is Romney trying to kid, said Edward McClelland in Salon.

What happened
Mitt Romney made a last pitch for votes before Michigan’s Tuesday Republican primary accusing lawmakers of contributing to the state’s economic problems with excessive regulating of the auto industry. Romney, who over the last few days pulled back into an even race with John McCain in Michigan polls, is depending on a win in Michigan to boost his hopes after setbacks in Iowa and New Hampshire. (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
Romney is hitting the right notes to get Michiganders’ attention, said Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic Online. By focusing on Michigan’s “one-state recession,” he is reminding Michigan of his solid credentials. That could be what it takes to fill GOP voters with hope that, “if the auto industry is going to make a comeback,” Romney is the candidate who’ll make it happen.

Who is Romney trying to kid? said Edward McClelland in Salon. Regulations requiring better gas mileage didn’t bring down Detroit, sky-high labor costs did. So maybe bringing back “the state’s glory days, when every car bore an American nameplate,” is an impossible dream, and the state would be better off following McCain’s tougher path of “research in hybrid motors, battery-powered cars and hydrogen fuel cells” and retraining centers for people who lost jobs that will never return.

Maybe, but the strategy has clearly helped Romney’s chances, said Mark Hemingway in National Review Online's The Corner blog. McCain has been a big advocate of increased mileage standards, and Romney has gained traction by slamming him for it. Sure, Romney once felt the same way, but, “flip-flop or not,” he’s “saying the right things to appeal to Michiganders now.”

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