The Obama campaign says that the federal government's decision to save the automotive industry has had an impact in Michigan that has rippled out far beyond the profit sheets of the Big Three automakers.
The campaign announced during a Monday press call that it was launching a week-long statewide initiative to highlight how the bailouts of Chrysler and GM -- which began during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued into Barack Obama's term -- have benefited the state's economy. President Bush lent $17.4 billion dollars to GM and Chrysler in 2008 after a federal rescue plan was blocked by Senate Republicans.
The "Michigan Road to Recovery Tour" will focus on feeder industries and communities who have been indirectly affected by the bailout. The first stop is scheduled Tuesday in the Detroit suburb of Rochester.
The move comes on the heels of a Thursday EPIC-MRA poll that shows Romney leading Obama 46 to 45 percent among likely Michigan voters, according to the Detroit News.
U.S. Senator Carl Levin joined the call to tout the recovery of the Michigan economy.
"If we let the auto industry go bankrupt like Mitt Romney had suggested … the people in Michigan would be in dire straights," he said.
Levin credited the bailout with helping drive down the state's unemployment rate. It currently stands at 8.3 percent-- the the lowest it has been since July of 2008.
It's estimated that the potential bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler could have resulted in job losses of a million or more.
The Senator also noted that Michigan economy now has one of the top six fastest growing economies in the country -- a statistic echoed up by a recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which put the state's growth rate at 2.3 percent last year.
Obama Campaign Spokesman Ben LaBolt wouldn't directly respond to any questions about U.S. Representative Hansen's Clarke's proposal to bail out the financially-strapped city of Detroit, but said the administration has tried to promote policies that provide jobs to struggling states and municipalities.
"There is no doubt states and cities were hit hard by the economic crisis of '08," he said. "One of the things this administration has done to help is to provide resources to keep teachers in classroom and police officers on the street."
In his 2008 campaign against Senator John McCain, Obama successfully used the economic crisis and the issue of jobs to win the support of Michigan voters. McCain eventually pulled out of Michigan in a strategic move to focus on other states --- and Obama quickly followed suit.
LaBolt said that withdrawal won't be repeated in this election, adding that Obama's team will pursue a "robust campaigning effort across the state, regardless of the Republican effort." He said that campaign hopes to offset a massive broadcast offensive by Romney with a strong grassroots drive.
"We think the decisive edge is our supporters are talking to their networks on the ground," he said.