Detroit editor criticizes Romney for selective editing of endorsement

A Detroit newspaper editor is criticizing Mitt Romney's campaign for its selective editing of the paper's endorsement. 

Romney highlighted the endorsement from the Detroit News in a press release but left out the newspaper's criticism of Romney's opposition to the auto bailout. 

“They should have run the complete, original version,” Detroit News Editorial Page editor Nolan Finley said in an interview Thursday evening with media critic Jim Romensko. “It’s a bit inappropriate to edit out the mild criticism.”

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The criticism from Finley was circulated in an e-mail to supporters Thursday by the Democratic National Committee.

Romney's campaign defended the press release, saying it is prohibited by copyright laws from circulating entire newspaper articles to supporters. 

"The Romney campaign abides by all copyright rules and makes certain that we use only article excerpts," Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement provided to The Hill.

"The article was linked to in full," Saul continued. "While Democrats are focused on Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney is focused on his conservative, pro-growth plans to cut taxes and grow the economy so Americans can get back to work."

Romney, who is locked in a tight race in the Michigan primary with Rick Santorum, has been sharply critical of the auto bailouts since they first considered in the fall of 2008. Santorum also opposed the bailouts. 

Because Michigan is considered home turf for Romney—his father was a governor of the state—a defeat there would be a serious blow.

The endorsement from The Detroit News, which said Thursday that Romney would be the best choice for voters in the state, is a boon for Romney. 

"State Republicans should go to the polls Tuesday with two missions: Pick a presidential candidate capable of leading this nation to prosperity and stability and choose a nominee who will give the GOP a fighting chance of defeating President Barack Obama this fall," the paper said. "On both counts, Mitt Romney is the best choice in the Michigan primary." 

In the same editorial, however, the Detroit newspaper also said Romney was wrong on the decision to give federal government assistance to General Motors and Chrysler in late 2008.

"We disagree with Romney on a point vital to Michigan — his opposition to the bailout of the domestic automobile industry," the paper wrote. "Romney advocated for a more traditional bankruptcy process, while we believe the bridge loans provided by the federal government in the fall of 2008 were absolutely essential to the survival of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp."

However, the newspaper said of the bailouts that "the issue isn't a differentiator in the GOP primary, since the entire field opposed the rescue effort." 

The decision to bail out the companies appears to be popular with voters in Michigan. A poll released this week showed 63 percent of registered Michigan voters and 42 percent of likely voters in the state supported the federal government's decision to assist General Motors and Chrysler.

Fifty-eight percent of registered Michigan voters gave Obama a good or great deal of credit for the turnaround of the U.S. auto industry, compared to 37 percent who said he deserved not very much or no credit at all.