During Detroit visit, Romney lashes out at powerful autoworkers' union

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) lashed out at former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union on Thursday as he took his presidential campaign to his native Michigan.

Romney called Granholm, a key Democratic surrogate against his White House bid, a "failed governor," and accused the UAW of having "bought and paid for" President Obama's last campaign.

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"I'm afraid Jennifer Granholm is a failed governor trying to defend a failed president. So I'm not terribly surprised at the direction she's trying to take," Romney said on WJR radio in Detroit. "But clearly the people of Michigan are smarter than to just listen to the pitch that is coming from the Obama folks and the UAW."

Romney's in the Detroit area Thursday, where he made an appearance at a Coney Island shop for breakfast. Labor and state Democratic activists met Romney with a protest, taking aim at his opposition to the way the Obama administration carried out bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.

Granholm's been a key voice for Democrats in advancing that attack against Romney; she's been omnipresent on cable television speaking against the former Massachusetts governor, focusing in particular on the auto bailouts.

Democrats have made Romney's opposition to the bailout a key issue against him in Michigan, where he was raised and where his father served several terms as a Republican governor.

But Romney's stuck by his guns on the bailout, explaining that he had instead favored managed bankruptcies for the companies, after which the government could have provided some guarantees. (He outlined his plan in a 2008 op-ed in The New York Times.) The Obama administration eventually encouraged GM and Chrysler to undergo a preorganized bankruptcy in 2009, after which the Treasury took an equity stake in each company.

Romney said he ran into some UAW members during breakfast who challenged him on his autos record.

"I pointed out it would've been better if we would have allowed the companies, through their own process, to go through a managed bankruptcy. The companies would be stronger now, the UAW wouldn't have the ownership, and we would've saved billions of federal dollars," Romney said.

"They're out there working very hard for their friend, Barack Obama," he added. "I think the union folks basically bought and paid for his last campaign, so he's taking care of them and they're taking care of him."

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