Why auto bailout helps Obama (and hurts GOP) in Michigan, Ohio

A new Obama ad attacks Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum for opposing the auto industry bailout. Polls show 63 percent of voters in Michigan support the federal bailout of the auto industry.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich have one thing in common, President Obama’s campaign would like you to know: The GOP candidates didn’t want the federal government to bail out the American auto industry.

The Obama campaign is hitting the GOP field - and Romney in particular - with an advertisement arguing that “when a million American jobs were on the line, every Republican candidate turned their back” before flashing Romney’s now-infamously headlined op-ed “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

The Michigan GOP primary is five days away and Democrats are getting into the mix in more than just the Obama for America ad spot: Democratic party officials have encouraged their members to vote in the GOP’s primary, even.

But whatever mischief Democrats would do at the ballot box, the advertisement is  more interesting. The auto bailout is something on which Michigan voters, according to the most recent polling, give Obama a great deal of credit: 63 percent of registered voters and 42 percent of likely voters support the bailout while 58 percent of voters say Obama deserves a good or great deal of credit for the strength of the auto industry versus 37 percent who say he deserves little or none.

The bottom line: This is a good issue, the polls say, for Obama in Michigan.

While that same poll shows Obama handily defeating both Romney and Santorum in Michigan, it’s not just Michigan where such an ad could make waves.

As anyone who has driven from Cleveland to Detroit along I-80 knows the prominence of the auto industry in northwest Ohio as well. Ohio, it goes almost without saying, is another important battleground state.

Team Obama smells blood in the water on the auto bailout, it seems, and they are going to get their message into the mix early and often along what might be called the Auto Belt.

As with many things breaking news, your faithful Decoder found this nugget through the Twitter feed of Obama for America deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter:

"OFA's new Made in America tv ad. Romney wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, President Obama said no & saved 1.4 m jobs."

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