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Obama beats native son Romney in Michigan as auto bailouts dominate race

9:53 PM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's day on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
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(Detroit Free Press) - President Barack Obama won Michigan in today's presidential election, beating native son Mitt Romney in a race that heavily featured Obama's rescue of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.

The last Michigan polls just closed at 9 p.m., so few results were immediately available. But a survey of results from key precincts across the state supplied to the Free Press showed Obama winning Michigan, 54%-45%. Exit polls were also expected to show Obama with a strong lead in the state over Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was raised in Bloomfield Hills.

Obama won Michigan by 16% four years ago.

Throughout the campaign season, pundits said they believed Michigan was almost certain to go for Obama, who made the auto rescue one of the primary examples of success in his first four years in office. After entering office, his administrated upped the investment in the two companies to $82-billion and steered GM and Chrysler through a managed bankruptcy that helped them shed debts and restructure.

Both automakers have returned to profitability.

Romney's father, George Romney, was a popular three-term governor of Michigan and head of American Motors. But Mitt Romney, 65, moved to Boston decades ago and was castigated as a turncoat by Democrats after writing an editorial for the New York Times in November 2008 in which he counseled against heavy government investment in the auto companies. It appeared under the headline, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

While Romney's surrogates in Michigan insisted the state remained in play, the campaign itself did not advertise in the state, and Romney himself hadn't visited since August.

What remained to be seen was whether the issue of the auto industry played in much the same way in Ohio, a state many experts considered vital to Romney's chances of winning the White House. Polls had shown Obama with an edge there and some pundits argued that white, working-class voters were supporting the president because of his support of the auto industry.

Next to Michigan, Ohio has more auto jobs than any other state in the country.

By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press - Washington Staff

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