CHARLOTTE — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm delivered a spectacularly theatrical, spectacularly loud attack on Mitt Romney for not standing by Detroit to support the auto rescue.
“He loves our cars so much, they have their own elevator,” she said. “But the people who design, build and sell those cars? Well, in Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator; the workers get the shaft.”
Romney’s position on the auto bailout has never been crystal clear, but during the campaign he’s argued that he would have rescued Detroit but at a much lower cost by using private sector funds to prop it up.
Granholm said that this was a fantasy: No bank of any kind was about to loan tens of billions of dollars to a flagging industry while the banks themselves were on the verge of being sucked under by a financial meltdown.
“The entire auto industry, and the lives of over 1 million hard-working Americans, teetered on the edge of collapse and with it, the whole manufacturing sector,” she said. “We looked everywhere for help. Almost nobody had the guts to help us, not the banks, not the private investors and not Bain Capital. Then, in 2009, the cavalry arrived: our new president, Barack Obama!”
Granholm’s wild gestures and energy level — which hovered between “fired up” and “thermonuclear” from the first minute of the speech — left the crowd delirious. Many passages were all but drowned out and she had to pause at one point as delegates chanted “USA!”
“America, let’s rev our engines!” she concluded. “In your car and on your ballot, the ‘D’ is for drive forward, and the ‘R’ is for reverse — and in this election, we’re driving forward, not back! Let’s re-elect our great president, Barack Obama!”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.