Campaign Briefs: 'Two Cadillacs' Backfire into Harsh Headlines for Romney
Obama spots add to TV blitz; Troy primary night party set; candidate's Brighton tale stars 'frugal dad.'
Patch presents a Michigan presidential campaign roundup.
'That's rich, literally'
Mitt Romney earns a point for openness, but risks losing it for over-sharing. "I like the fact that most of the cars I see (locally) are Detroit-made automobiles," he told Detroit Economic Club members on Friday. "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually."
He was referring to his wife's 2007 and 2010 SRX models at their Massachusetts and California homes, aides explained. (Speech excerpt video embedded at right.)
The off-script remark created a bull's-eye too inviting to ignore. "That's rich, literally," ex-Detroiter Charles Blow writes in his New York Times column.
That was one poke among plenty, a headline sampling shows:
- Mitt Romney's Cadillac flub one of many (Politico.com)
- Romney's Cadillac Comment Highlights His Wealth (New York Times blog)
- Romney Touts His Economic Plan, Wife's Cadillacs (National Journal)
- Mitt Romney gushes about his cars in Detroit Economic Club speech (Los Angeles Times)
- Romney Highlights His Wealth With Cadillac Line During Economic Speech (KTTV Fox 11 website in Los Angeles)
- Mitt Romney's Wife Drives Two Cadillacs and a Gold Carriage (Comedy Central – not a news site)
Slate blogger David Weigel thinks the kicks are unfair. "Shaming wealthy people for doubling up on luxury American cars doesn't make a ton of sense to me," he posts. "I've got news for you: If Romney wins the big job, he gets his own plane, and we pay for it.
Obama joins TV barrage
Now for two messages about the other guy. President Obama's campaign and a group supporting him bought airtime last week so Michigan viewers wouldn't see only Republican ads.
A commercial from the Obama for America committee shows the four Republicans now running and criticizes their opposition to $82 billion in federal help for the auto industry. "When a million jobs were on the line, every Republican candidate turned their back," a narrator says. "Not him. ... Now a retooled, restructured industry is back."
Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC (political action committee) allowed to get unlimited donations, attacks Romney’s business record and opposition to the General Motors and Chrysler bailout. It includes a video of Romney saying "let Detroit go bankrupt" and these lines from an announcer: "He made a fortune from companies he helped destroy. ... Are those the values we want in an American president?"
Each 30-second ad is attached to this report.
Drinks, snacks, vote results
Troy-Clawson Republican Forum members will gather after polls close Tuesday to watch the voters' verdict. A free primary night event, open to the public, begins at 8 p.m. in Marinelli's restaurant, 4924 Rochester Rd. in Troy.
"It should be very exciting," said second-term Forum president Barbara Harrell, a Republican State Committee member from Troy who expects at least two dozen of her 40 members to attend.
The high-profile primary "puts Michigan in a good position to have influence," she told Patch, adding: "And here we originally thought this would be a ho-hum cake walk for our displaced hometown guy," referring to Mitt Romney's residency outside from Michigan since 1965. "It's good to see all the interest and attention."
As a gracious host, she mentioned that Tuesday's "first round will be on us."
Romney's family tale
At the end of a hectic week rolling through Michigan in a campaign-branded RV, with a debate detour by plane to Arizona, Mitt Romney was in a joking, nostalgic, off-the-cuff mood. "My dad was a very frugal man," began an anecdote at a Kalamazoo event, reports Wall Street Journal blogger Sara Murray. "And he checked all over for where the best deal was on a grave site. And he found a place in Brighton.
"We didn’t live in Brighton. It’s like, how did you pick Brighton, Dad? 'Well, best price I could find in the whole state.' "
Here's how he ended the reminiscence about George Romney of Bloomfield Hills, who died in 1995 at 88: "So if you’re looking for the best deal on a grave site, check Brighton. They got a good, got a good spot, and you’re near the former governor and the former first lady."
Clearly, he hammers the homegrown theme any way that works.
Where is everyone?
Long lines are unlikely at polling sites Tuesday, even though Republicans have a potentially pivotal contest with national impact.
"The one thing that's relatively certain is that most registered voters won't vote," columnist Jack Lessenberry writes in the latest issue of Metro Times. "Those who do turn up to vote in February tend to be the strongly committed and often stridently ideological, along with a few party faithful and a dwindling number who think voting in any election is their duty."
Four years ago, 18.8 percent of registered Michigan voters from both parties cast ballots – 869,300 in the Republican primary and 565,400 in the Democratic one. Mitt Romney led his party's field with 338,316 votes, followed by John McCain with 257,985. Romney earned 20 of the 30 delegates, while McCain rolled ahead to become the nominee.
Oakland legislator's choice
State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, one of the House's most conservative members, last week endorsed Rick Santorum – sort of.
"My main reason is that I want a brokered convention," he told a Lansing newsletter, "but I also do think he'd do a good job as president."
Just two other Michigan Republican Caucus members back the former Pennsylvania senator.
Voices from the trail
- "I want to thank Ford Field for making room for us." – Mitt Romney on Friday, addressing 1,200 people in 65,000-seat stadium
- "I am not concerned with the ethical or moral implications of (Democrats) voting in the GOP primary and neither should you be. ... Savor the opportunity to cause problems for the other party." – Joe DiSano, Michigan Democratic political consultant and past aide to Congressman John Dingell, blogging in Huffington Post Detroit
- "If history is the guide for Romney and Santorum, they have a 50-50 chance of getting the nomination if they win Michigan. The Republican candidate who won a competitive Michigan contest has gone on to be the GOP nominee three of six times since 1972." – Steve Mitchell, West Bloomfield pollster, in a Detroit News commentary