Winning your homestate is usually a given for any major primary candidate, as it was for Mitt Romney in 2008 when he beat John McCain by nearly ten points. Romney's father George was a three-term governor of Michigan, and an influential business and religious leader in the state before and after his own unsuccessful campaign for president. Mitt Romney was born in Detroit and raised in the suburb of Bloomfield Hills, before heading West for school at Stanford and Brigham Young, and then east to Boston for Harvard and to begin his career. Given this background, campaign staff for Romney were likely unnerved when polls early this week showed rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum beating the former Massachusetts governor in his homestate by 10-15 points.
To turn momentum back in their favor, the Romney campaign and supporters have launched an aggressive media push in Michigan, a state that looks to be critical in both the primary and general election.
The Romney super PAC "Restore Our Future" has pledged nearly half-a-million-dollars in Michigan air-time for the week of Feb. 14-20. The air-time has been reserved for new ads referencing Romney's Michigan roots and ties to the state's aut0-industry:
Romney also penned an op-ed in Tuesday's Detroit News where he declares himself "a son of Detroit" who "grew up drinking Vernors and watching ballgames at Michigan & Trumbull." Romney slams President Obama for rewarding union bosses by bailing out the auto-industry and appointing Steven Rattner auto czar thus committing "crony capitalism on a grand scale."
"This was crony capitalism on a grand scale. The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.
My view at the time — and I set it out plainly in an op-ed in the New York Times — was that "the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing." Instead of a bailout, I favored "managed bankruptcy" as the way forward.
Managed bankruptcy may sound like a death knell. But in fact, it is a way for a troubled company to restructure itself rapidly, entering and leaving the courtroom sometimes in weeks or months instead of years, and then returning to profitable operation."