Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, left, laughs with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday as he endorses Romney at the Livonia Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Farmington Hills, Mich.
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FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Native Michigander Mitt Romney on Thursday landed the endorsement of the state’s Republican governor on the second day of a campaign swing aimed at winning the state’s Republican primary on Feb. 28.
Speaking to a local Chamber of Commerce crowd of about 500, Governor Rick Snyder said Mr. Romney has the private sector and state government experience to solve problems in Washington.
Mr. Snyder said Michigan eliminated a $1.5 billion debt and eliminated more than $5.6 billion “long term liabilities” in 2011. He said Michigan’s biggest obstacle now is Washington.
“The issues in Washington are very much the same. Trillions of dollars that need to be paid back, the need to balance a budget, and more importantly the need to create more and better jobs,” Mr. Snyder said. “The job is not getting done. We need the leadership to get that job done. We have a person in Governor Romney who has that background.”
Mr. Romney returned the compliment, saying he wants to do in Washington what Governor Snyder did in Michigan. In his speech, Mr. Romney emphasized business themes, saying most in government don’t understand business or free enterprise.
He criticized “Obamacare,” the national health care plan adopted in 2010 — and which bears some resemblance to the health care plan Mr. Romney pioneered as governor of Massachusetts, pro-labor policies such as the proposed card-check plan to improve unions’ ability to organize work places, “picking winners and losers” by investing taxpayer money in energy and solar companies, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law as examples of government under President Obama that he said stymie free enterprise and job creation.
Mr. Romney started his day with a tour of the National Galvanizing LP factory in Monroe where he promised to work for the middle class.
Mr. Romney is battling in a neck-and-neck challenge — according to political opinion surveys — against former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for the state’s 30 delegates.
Mark Brewer, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, issued a statement concluding that Governor Snyder’s endorsement sidestepped Mr. Romney’s position on the 2009 bailout that many believe saved the domestic auto manufacturing industry from collapse.
“While Snyder may have endorsed Romney, he has refused to endorse Romney’s escalating campaign against the American auto industry,” Mr. Brewer said. He said Mr. Snyder supported the bailout while Mr. Romney advocated allowing General Motors and Chrysler to go bankrupt.
He added that “every other member of the Republican elite” has endorsed Mr. Romney, so Mr. Snyder’s support is not a big surprise.
Michigan Republicans are set to vote Feb. 28, the same day as Republicans vote in Arizona. Ohio and nine other states are on the calendar for March 6.