Obama's Michigan Pitch

As Republicans blanket the Michigan airwaves with negative ads haranguing each other before Tuesday's primary, Barack Obama's reelection campaign has released a Michigan-centric spot touting the success of the auto bailout. Titled, "Made in America," the ad takes a similar tone to the Chrysler/Clint Eastwood "Halftime in America" Super Bowl commercial, both filled with nostalgic tinged images of past American manufacturing greatness before highlighting car production as a means to restore the country's economy. "Made in America. For generations of Michigan autoworkers it's more than a slogan, it's a way of life," the ad's gruff narrator intones.

The ad starts off with the positive take on those hardworking Michiganders and the success of the bailouts, but also mixes in attacks for Republican opposition to the president's plan. After flashing an image of all the candidates on the debate stage, the commercial highlights Mitt Romney's "let Detroit go bankrupt" quote, a clear indication that Obama's team still views Romney—not the temporarily rising Rick Santorum–as their likely opponent this fall.

It's a pitch that should play well in Michigan, where Obama already holds a massive lead over each GOP challenger. But it should translate to the national stage as well. Unlike the bailouts of the banks, rescuing the auto manufacturers has come to be viewed as a success. A Pew Research Center poll has a 56-38 percent majority of Americans describing the loans to GM and Chrysler as "mostly good" over "mostly bad" for the economy. That's a sharp uptick from when the group posed that question in October 2009, when 37-54 percent disapproved of lending the institutions government money. The continued success of the auto companies—alongside a general steady uptick in economic confidence—gives Obama compelling evidence to argue that his policies saved the country from economic ruin.

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