Auto bailout could be key to Obama victory in Ohio

President Barack Obama's decision to help America's automakers could end up being what helps drive him back into the White House.
Associated Press
Oct 24, 2012

Some 850,000 jobs in this critical battleground state are tied to autos and Obama's campaign constantly reminds voters they'd be jobless if not for the decision to inject taxpayer dollars into General Motors and Chrysler. However, the move has not translated into automatic support for the president, even in areas that depend on the industry. Republican Mitt Romney also is pitching these voters hard with his message that Obama hasn't balanced Washington's checkbook the same way voters must.

One in eight jobs in Ohio can be linked to the auto industry — whether it's working on a factory floor or selling groceries to plant workers. The presidential race's outcome could boil down to whether voters interpret Obama's move as saving Detroit or bailing it out. But like other flashpoints in this rough campaign, there is little middle ground between the versions of events and what it means for voters' neighbors.

"I couldn't imagine what Lordstown would be," said Brian Axiotis, a 37-year-old Obama supporter who works in information technology and lives in nearby Newton Falls. "A lot of folks would lose their houses. Consider the mess that would have resulted. It'd be a ghost town all over the area."

Since its restructuring, the General Motors plant in this town of 4,000 people southeast of Cleveland has added a third shift — and 1,200 new workers with it — to produce the popular compact Chevy Cruze. GM has pledged $220 million in updates to the factory and to keep the 4,500 workers, suggesting this town in the former steel-heavy Mahoning Valley has some stability ahead.

Romney volunteer Frank Perrotta still finds Obama's decision to loan automakers billions a misuse of public dollars. Between calls to voters at Romney's office in Stow, he shakes his head when talking about the government's move to prevent the collapse of GM and Chrysler. The bailout began in 2008 under Republican George W. Bush and Obama extended it.

"I have to run my business responsibly. No one is coming to bail me out if I get into trouble," said Perrotta, a 63-year-old Hudson resident who runs a medical imaging business that employs nine workers. "The bailout was just not fair."

Romney opposed using government money to save the car companies in a 2008 op-ed piece in The New York Times, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Romney preferred a managed bankruptcy, without federal money, and has maintained the rescue was unfair, unnecessary and political payback to labor unions.

"If we had taken your advice, Gov. Romney, about our auto industry, we'd be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China," Obama said in Monday's presidential debate.

His statement sparked one of the most contentious moments of the evening, with the two interrupting and arguing over one another about what impact Romney's idea would have had. "I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry," Romney said, touting his affection for American cars, his Detroit roots and his father's leadership of American Motors Corp.

Obama insisted Romney was "trying to airbrush history" and suggested voters should check the record.

While GM paid back its loan and the government took an ownership stake, the Treasury Department estimates Washington might lose about $25.1 billion on its investment. It smacks of government waste for its critics.

"They should've followed the bankruptcy process that applies to the rest of us who don't have union bosses for friends. They bailed out their buddies," said Loretta Hurite, a 74-year-old Romney supporter from Cuyahoga Falls working the phones in Stow.

And so it continues through the state, where polls are close and both campaigns are in overdrive. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, and John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign was the last Democratic effort to win the presidency without it. Voters here are bombarded with campaign ads and candidate visits, mail at the ends of their driveways and phone calls at all hours.

Obama's allies never hesitate to raise the bailout in visits to the state. "Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive," Vice President Joe Biden roars at rallies, always a sure-fire applause generator.

Obama's team even has former President Bill Clinton making the point.

"It's important to remember than one in eight jobs in the state of Ohio is tied to the auto industry," Clinton told voters in Parma last week. "When you were down and you were out, the president had your back. Now, you've got to have his."

Not so fast, says Dennis Muniak, a 60-year-old Parma resident who attended the Clinton rally near Cleveland.

"Seven out of eight jobs aren't auto jobs," countered Muniak, who is drawing disability benefits.

Back in Trumbull County's city of Warren, just across the railroad tracks from the Lordstown plant, General Motors retiree George Vukovich cast his ballot early for Obama.

"In this valley, we are autos. Obama took care of us. He kept his promise. Now, we have to have his back," the 61-year-old Vukovich said before acknowledging the auto industry's heyday might be in its past.

Across the street from the early voting site, weeds are growing high at a car audio shop that has shut its doors. A retail plaza next door is vacant.

"We were lucky. We worked through the glory days of the 1970s, '80s and '90s," Vukovich said. "Those days are over. But I have great insurance and I have a great retirement."

Thanks to the taxpayers, Chuck Wirebaugh clucks.

"Obama sold out to the auto unions. GM would be better off had it gone through bankruptcy like everyone else has to. Instead, they got special treatment and a sweetheart bailout," the 69-year-old retiree from Cortland said after he cast his ballot early for Romney.

"Obama shouldn't have the job," Wirebaugh said. "He should be a used car salesman. It's about the only thing he's qualified to be."

 

Comments

coasterfan

At the end of the day, nothing Republicans can say will erase the fact that Obama saved hundreds of thousands of jobs with the auto bailout, and the fact that Romney was in favor of all those jobs vanishing into thin air, since he didn't support the bailout. So, tell us, dear conservatives: since you're always harping about unemployment, why don't you denounce Mitt for being so obviously anti-job growth in Ohio?

Mitt Romney, the only candidate in history running on a promise to take away basic medical care from more than 20 million people (since he has promised to abolish the Affordable Health Care Act), and the first to promise to dismantle Medicare (his plan will result in a voucher system, resulting in out of pocket expenses for seniors). Romney is also on record as promising to do away with the college tuition tax credit and the homeowner mortgage interest deduction - both clearly will hit middle class people hard,
His own words and promises, folks....

Swamp Fox: news flash, we're not electing a financial advisor, we're electing a president. Anyone who actually believes that business experience is necessary for the job of president, should consiider 2 names: Herbert Hoover and George W.Bush. What do they have in common, you ask? They were the only 2 businessmen elected president. Hoover gets credit for the Great Depression and I think we all are quite familiar with the Bush Recession.

Riskkbreaker

@Coasterfan..the "Bush" recession? Surely you jest.
I take it you still have not read, in detail, http://www.commentarymagazine.co...
Bush was far greater than Obama. I know I was doing fine until a few years after the Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections.

sanduskysteve

I'm curious how your experience would have differed if McCain and Palin would have gotten into office. Can someone tell he about that?? You don't know because they were not elected - you could take them at their word - in which case - I'm sure you would have been much worse off today as they were not really interested in fixing anything or even TRYING to fix something. I mean Palin didn't even know what the Vice President's job was. McCain wanted more war and raising taxes. I'm confused how things would have been any different. Either one of them would have had to deal with a total mess just like the current person.

real talk

I would take time to argue with you GOP koolade drinkers but there is no reason to. Obama is going to win, I know it, you know it. Feel free to be pissed for the next 4 years while the economy keeps getting better.
Looking forward to Clinton 2016

meowmix

Amen to that !!!!!!!

Riskkbreaker

In what alternate reality is it getting better? In every scenario, one of two things is happening..either it is clearly worse, or some things look better as they "re-arrange the chairs on the deck of the Titanic."

coasterfan

Mitt stepped in it again today. When yet another GOP candidate said something Neanderthal about abortion today, Mitt could have earned points by denouncing the candidate from Indiana. instead, Mitt said that he still supports Mourdock, but doesn't support what Mourdock said. This is what we call Classic Political Double-Speak, courtesy of the Wind Sock known as Willard "Mitt" Romney. Poor Mitt, he doesn't realize just how anti-woman he and his party really are.

Daylight Savings Time approaches. Democrats, don't forget to set your clocks back one hour. Republicans don't need to do anything, since your candidate has already turned back your clocks 60 years for you...

Darwin's choice
Gardenman

My vote is in....absentee and setting at the Board of Elections. I am very satisfied with my vote for President Obama. I feel he did save the US auto industry and will not tied to that it is important to me those jobs are still in the American economy.

There is such devisive actions in this election. Just tonight I got an email from a friend that Obama has stopped Bibles being placed in Veteran hospitals. Said it was checked with Snopes.com. Within 5 minutes another receiver of the message said he checked with Snopes.com and it was corrected 2 years ago when this came out is was a lie. Like I say such junk that floods people's homes and emails etc on stuff that is just not true. So much seems to be directed at the defeat of Obama.

Well I will tell you a truth on me.....Ryan scares the living daylights out of me. This guy wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. No lie about that at all. I fail to understand how any senior can support Ryan for VP.....its beyond me how they want to lose a portion their income.

Erie County Resident

You don't see how any senior can support Romney?
We've already got a glimps of what is to come already. No or only a tiny increase in monthly SS checks but huge rate hikes for Medicare with more to come as Ovomitcare goes into to full swing.
These are FACTS by actual people living it. No stupid snopes check needed.
And to you liberals that say SS is an entitlement program no its is not. Entitlements like Welfare and Medicaid are not paid into by the future recipients, like SS and Medicare are.

The Big Dog's back

Yep, why would we need to factcheck. Whatever comes out of rightwing world is gospel. Uh huh.

sanduskysteve

I believe it is the GOP that insists on calling SS and Medicare entitlements. In fact, those receiving those "entitlements" are part of the 47% that Romney doesn't care about. I'm a liberal independant and I have fought tooth and nail against the idea that SS is an entitlement - stop confusing facts here. Obama KNOWS they are not - GOP doens't realize that and really doesn't care.

John Harville

@REsident... does it hurt to be so wrong? All those years I paid SS and Medicare Tax, I was paying to support benefits being concurrently received by my parents and grandparents. My children will be paying my benefits. SS actually IS an entitlement - since I paid the tax I am entitled to a benefit, though hopefully larger than what I paid. Welfare and Medicaid are paid by people who pay taxes on income and property and to which their recipients are 'entitled' by fact of residency or having worked at some point OR having been born into impossible situations.
That word 'entitlement' is used as something dirty and unearned and undeserved by people who never have faced difficult situations.

Riskkbreaker

@ Gardenman I don't understand what leads you to this conclusion. Obamacare WILL take 700 billion out of Medicare to fund Obamacare's govt-run "public option."

As for Ryan's plan, have you investigated what this voucher system actually is? It is the same option that Congress enjoys and now Ryan has penned a plan to give it to the people as well. You can keep your current Medicare plan OR you can use your Medicare benefits to purchase any private plan in the country IF you want to. The "voucher system" is just a voucher FROM Medicare..to purchase a private plan, but only IF you want to use it.

Compare that to Obama, who wants to keep that option from the people and let Congress keep it for themselves..while he sinks Medicare (by way of forcing doctors to no longer accept Medicare patients because it would be financial suicide to accept them) in order to force the people onto the "public option," which, yes, does include a panel of 15 unelected bereaucrats who are in charge of cutting costs.
(Even Biden tried to downplay it, at the debate with Ryan, brushing it off by saying "Yah, I heard about panels from Sarah Palin, but let's talk about Medicare." So, in effect, he immediately changed the subject to how Medicare is doing now, as opposed to how it will be doing after Obamacare takes full effect).

Voting for Obama's health care plan leads to what is already going on in the U.K. --> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/...
Be sure to read the whole article.
Whistleblower "Top doctor's chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year," many of which are prematurely euthanized for economic convenience..the doctors having misled the family to approve the procedure. That's end-of-life "care" for ya.

Bottom line, giving people the "voucher system" OPTION, which Congress enjoys, is far better than withholding it from the people and giving them, instead, the "public option."

sanduskysteve

Too bad, but the government run public option was removed from the bill before it was signed into law - that was one of the things that did not make it to the final bill/law. That does not exist and is not in effect or will it be, so that is totally out of the question in this. Also, the panels which Biden was referring to were the supposed "death panels" which Palin thought up out of the blue with nothing to back it up. The "panel" question has been asked and answered several times - it's a dead horse.
Also, Obamacare clearly states that you can keep your current plan if you want to - there is nothing that says you MUST change insurance companies. In fact, it would probably be unsmart to give up what you have been paying for for years. I believe that is the same thing that you have insisted the medicare voucher system is going to allow. Why is that so bad, if it is ok for seniors? This is the result of not getting facts before spewing statements about.

Riskkbreaker

@sanduskysteve What is the 700 billion dollars going to fund then, if not the "public option?"
Look at your typo above. You meant to say "it (the public option) is not in effect, NOR will it" but, instead, you typed "OR will it be."

It was taken out? Are you sure? And what is going to happen when Medicare fails as doctors CONTINUE the CURRENT trend of refusing Medicare patients?
Obama will say "This is why I originally put a 'public option' in Obamacare. The Republicans wanted it out. Now we need it. I was right. Blah Blah."
It will be back on the table and re-visited..or maybe enacted as an emergency Executive Order. People will bow their head and agree and, as I said, be forced onto it..while Congress continues to enjoy the Premium Support voucher OPTION (key word, option).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D...
Please pay attention..all the way through (it is only like 10 minutes).

The panels are not a dead horse. I have listened to Democrats try to downplay the "unelected bereaucrats" part, while defending the panel which you seem to believe does not exist.
As I recall, they did not deny the existence of the panel..they merely attempted to debunk the "death panel" label. And that is why I linked the article (in my original comment above) from the U.K. Guardian..to show you how it is possible to happen without actually being labeled as such in the mainstream.
Read that article (in the previous comment) and then watch the video I posted (in this comment). Think about it.

sanduskysteve

Are you kidding me? I'm supposed to listen to what Paul Ryan has to say about anything???? If medicare is in such bad shape (and I'm sure there are issues with it), then why does Mr. Ryan want to also cut 718 million dollars from it?? It it in HIS budget as well. Everyone loves to ignore that part of this.

Starr

I have three questions that I would like to pose for the voters in Ohio.

First, why did Obama let over 20,000 auto workers and their families (non labor employees) get a reduced pension or none at all when he saved all the union pensions? Seems unfair to me especially if I was one of the 20,000.

Second, look past the fact that we are either democrat, republican, or independent, and ask yourself this question. Do we want our kids and their future to be like the past four years?

Third, can we trust our president and secretary of state with the next four years if they cant even tell the truth even though there is proof they knew the truth about the killing of our ambassador?

deertracker

I bet you had no idea who the ambassador to Libya was before this. Stop trying to find fault in every little thing that did not turn out perfect while he was trying to fix things.Our kids and grandkids have to find their own way just like we all had to. No guarantees....remember? My brother was a union employee and receives a REDUCED pension. Fact! Do you want any political figure telling you what you can or can't do with your OWN body? Would you like your kids and grandkids to have access to healthcare if they should need it? How about access to a good educatiion so they may have that life that is better than the last four years? Answer those three questions!

Randy_Marsh

"Do you want any political figure telling you what you can or can't do with your OWN body?"
Quit taxing smokes and telling me to eat healthy then.

sanduskysteve

"cant's do with your OWN body?" That's really funny coming from a republican who believes that every woman's body in america belongs to the government.

John Harville

Randy quit taxing smokes....? Okay. We can do that... But when you get sick and end up in the hospital, don't expect us to pay your bills or your long-term care or have our insurance premiums increased because you are undersinsured or uninsured.

bored reader

Stop trying to find fault in every little thing that did not turn out perfect while he was trying to fix things

Seriously?? So the needless death of 4 Americans was just a little thing? You need help. Typical lib.

The Big Dog's back

How about the needless deaths in the Repubs Iraq war? Over 4 THOUSAND.

John Harville

1. That was a Bain Capital decision to move Delphi to China... who still has a share in Bain Capital? Who chose to be non-union managment?
2. Yeah. I'm glad my children and grandchildren live in a world where God still expects that we help each other. I'm glad they've lived the last 12 years learning that despite vile people who try to take all the good pieces for themselves, God still inspires the good angels among us to inspire us to care for ALL of us.
3. Yes. NOBODY yet knows the 'truth' about the deaths at the mission (not an Embassy) in Bengazi. Claims they 'knew' are based on emails about FB and Twitter postings by a group that claimed - then later denied - responsibility. You claim 'proof'... produce or retract.

kURTje

Ooo you drive something else. Big wup. Just vote.

Starr

For all you people that voted for Obama and you think that the last four years were so good, I have land in Florida to sell you. His record shows that more people are poorer today then four years ago.

For me, my pay check is smaller and my house value has gone down. Wait, now I remember, it was the last president that caused all of that. Get real! When you become in charge, all the responsibilities becomes yours.
He blames everyone but himself, maybe that is why we are in the position we are today and not on the road to recovery.
Have you looked at stock market lately? Have we reached 14000 yet? If not we are not better off today... period!

And by the way I have not voted yet. Still finding out facts that this president is not for this country!

sanduskysteve

Starr - yes when you become in charge, responsibility is yours - but if you come in charge you also have to deal with the issues created which are already there and you have no control over - much of the problem in the last four years and for years to come ARE a result of things that happened BEFORE Obama took charge. Get Real, yourself. Why is everyone willing to put another republican into office after what the last one did. What happened to your statement that when you become in charge all responsibilities are yours? He came into charge with a large surplus - what happened to that? Why was he allowed to drop the ball and leave this mess for someone else to fix? There is NO responsibility for what he has done while HE was in charge. Your theory only applies if the person in charge ACTUALLY takes responsibility. We are in the position we are in today - PARTLY because of the mess left behind by the last guy in charge who did NOT take responsibility. Or do only democrats have to follow the responsibility rules?
You honestly think things wlil be better under Romney??? You need to get real on that issue as well. Romney has NO plans to do anything while he is in office and he has made sure his promises are for 8 or more years out so that he doesn't have to take responsibility either. Balanced budget in 10 years - what???? He is going to shut down tons of subsidies which will cut employment - NOT increase it. His own advisors are saying his boasting of 12 million new jobs is impossible. In fact, there are lots of facts out there - if you stop watching FOX news and actually do your homework to show that Romney is promising everything and has no ability to complete any of those promises. The only thing that will happen for sure is that we will be in a war with Iran within one year and China will be paying for it. Remember, Romney owns the voting machines in Ohio and other states - Romney's brother in law owns manufacturing in China and Romney benefited billions from the bailouts that he now detests - sure he does - AFTER he got more rich. And removing the taxes on investment income - would mean he would not pay 14% on his millions - but he would then pay NOTHING on them. While the rest of us get hammered on taxes. Sure, bigger paycheck, but higher taxes paid - with less likely getting a refund. So, the middle class DOES pay while the rich pay less.

Starr

I can't believe that Obama lovers don't know anything about leadership and integrity.

Yes when you take over command, you have problems that is left from the other guy. Just like every president in the past including Ronald Reagan, who took over for the worst president ever Jimmy Carter. But guess what? He took responsibility once he got into office.
The late great JFK did as well. But if you are not a leader and cant lead, then you blame others.

Obama care and his spending will turn this country upside down and our kids and their kids will be left with nothing but a big bill. I guess this great country has turned into a bunch of people that want hand outs.

Another suggestion... If we want to be fair, tax everyone the same. Now that is being fair!

NO, I don't want a political figure telling me what to do like Obama saying, lets tax the rich, because that will not help.

Yes, the ambassador to Libya was killed by the government not doing their job of supporting them. He requested help, told them what was going on, and they chose to do nothing. If that was you and your kids, wouldnt you expect the support of your government?

States, not the Federal government can best run the states. That has been proven, so why are we increasing federal jobs? Look at all the countries over seas that are failing and one thing they all have in common. BIG GOVERNMENT AND A TON OF TAXES. Hey, that sounds like Obama!

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