CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Reminding viewers once again of the successful rescue of the auto industry, Democrats trotted out a group of everyday "American heroes" Thursday night led by Kenyetta Jones, a Toledo auto worker who said she wouldn't have her job today if not for the auto bailout.
"Thanks to President Obama, these jobs did come back," said Jones, who the Toledo Blade said is a 27-year veteran of a General Motors plant. "He knows that America needs our jobs because what happens to the auto industry happens to America. President Obama saved our community. He saved working America. He's my hero."
The president's extension of the auto rescue started by former President George W. Bush in 2008 should be one of his greatest strengths in important Midwestern states like Ohio. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, by contrast, opposed the bailout, penning a now-famous op-ed for The New York Times entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" -- a stance that's dogged him throughout his presidential run. The auto industry has largely rebounded since then, and a majority of Americans now view the bailout as good.
Like Democrats have throughout the campaign, Jones argued that communities like her own Toledo would have been devastated if Obama hadn’t pushed for more federal intervention with GM and Chrysler during the financial crisis. Jones' appearance was preceded at the DNC by a video touting the auto rescue, in which Obama said, "It's our iconic industry -- it's what builds our middle class." Jones, who also appeared in the video, said, "If the auto industry had gone down, everyone would have felt it."
The DNC appears intent on not letting voters forget the bailout for very long. Wednesday night's speaker list included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who spoke about the rescue, as well as Bob King, the head of the United Auto Workers union, who had the crowd join in a recitation of the headline from Romney's Times op-ed piece.
According to the Blade, Obama met Jones when she introduced him during his Labor Day stop in Toledo, and he was impressed with her public speaking skills. "It's a good thing that they are focusing on the real people related to the auto industry," Jones told the newespaper Wednesday before boarding a flight for Charlotte. "We have to understand that if the auto industry had not been saved, America would be at a standstill. The focus on Ohio is proper for this election."