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Obama appeals to auto industry in weekly radio address

October 13, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • President Barack Obama tours Chrysler Group's Toledo Supplier Park in Toledo, Ohio. The auto industry, especially in the battleground of Ohio, was a sticking point of Obama's weekly radio address.
President Barack Obama tours Chrysler Group's Toledo Supplier Park… (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo )

WASHINGTON -- President Obama used his weekly address to remind voters -- especially those with industry jobs in the crucial swing state of Ohio -- of the steps his administration took in shoring up the auto companies.

“Just a few years ago, the auto industry wasn’t just struggling -- it was flat-lining,” Obama said in the weekly address. “But we refused to throw in the towel and do nothing.  We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt.  We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”

The Obama administration’s auto industry restructuring plan remains a topic of highly polarized debate, but it has been pivotal to the president’s argument for reelection in Ohio, in particular. Ads in the state have mapped the jobs in the auto industry, and highlighted Republican Mitt Romney’s opposition to the bailout.

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“Today, auto sales are the highest they’ve been in more than four years.  GM is back.  Ford and Chrysler are growing again.  Together, our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in America,” Obama said.

As the presidential candidates battle in the swing states, the Republican address this week drew from the ranks of the party’s new candidates for the House – drawing attention to the congressional contests in an emerging strategy from Republicans to showcase up-and-coming leaders.

This week brought Markwayne Mullin, who inherited his family’s plumbing business as a young man and expanded it into one of southeastern Oklahoma’s larger such companies, according to his campaign.

“A lot of people call them ‘congressmen,’ but I don’t want to be a man of the Congress,” Mullin said. “I’m asking to go to Washington to represent the values and priorities of my neighbors.  And right now, after nearly four years of broken promises and failed policies, their top priority is jobs.”

Mullin is running against Democrat Rob Wallace, a county prosecutor, in the Republican-leaning seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Dan Boren.

Mullin opposes heavy regulation from Washington, which he said comes at steep costs to companies like his. Fighting clean-air and water regulations has been a hallmark of the current House majority, though many of the bills they have passed stalled in the Senate.

“Our economy doesn’t need more meddling – it needs more certainty.  And we don’t need more regulators – we need more representatives who understand what it takes to create jobs, and who will inspire us to overcome doubt and commit ourselves to a future of growth and prosperity.”

Oklahoma is not a competitive state in the presidential contest, but Mullin’s campaign is important to Republican efforts to retain their majority in the House.

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lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

Twitter: @LisaMascaroinDC

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