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Dukakis Camp Slightly Red-Faced as Auto Plant He 'Rescued' Closes

November 07, 1987|CATHLEEN DECKER | Times Staff Writer

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A crack has surfaced in the foundation of the "Massachusetts Miracle," but Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who has made his state's economic revival a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, is not taking the blame.

In what has become an embarrassment of sorts to Dukakis in his home state, General Motors announced late Wednesday that it was closing indefinitely its Framingham auto production plant, which employs 3,700 workers.

It is the same General Motors plant that holds a prominent place in Dukakis' presidential campaign brochure. "When GM considered shutting down its Massachusetts plant, Mike Dukakis didn't go to Washington. He went to work," the Dukakis brochure reads.

The plant was shut down temporarily in 1982, but since then the state has sought to assist GM by leasing land for an expansion and paying for road and sewer improvements.

But while Dukakis was eager to take credit before, he refused this week to take the blame for the current closure.

"Every time something happens around here, it has little to do with my political campaign," Dukakis said.

Dukakis campaign officials said Friday that he would continue to work with management and union officials to seek a reopening of the plant.

The Framingham plant is one of six General Motors plants across the country that manufactures so-called A cars. GM blamed the closure on slow sales of its Chevrolet Celebrity and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera models and said it will also cut one of two shifts at an Ontario, Canada, plant. Both closures take effect Nov. 30.

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