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Emanuel: 'If it was up to Mitt Romney, we wouldn't have an auto industry'

"I would say, clearly, Mitt Romney's economic policies want to take us to a point in time which actually led to this crisis that we've had, both in the auto industry, the financial sector and the economy as a whole," Emanuel told CNN. "Remember, if it was up to Mitt Romney, we wouldn't have an auto industry. He said, 'Let them go.' And President Obama said, 'Absolutely not. I'm going to double down on the American worker.' And whose policies was right for that industry is also who's right for this country."

Romney has said on the campaign trail that Detroit automakers would have been better served by a structured bankruptcy rather than a government bailout, a position Democrats think could be a liability among Rust Belt voters in November.

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But Emanuel said the president still has work to do himself in helping the middle class and a tough economy.

"Look, he'd be the first to say that there are — there are more things to do in the sense of getting the middle class the economic security they need," Emanuel said.

"You cannot have another decade in which the middle class falls farther behind. That's not healthy for the economy. That's not healthy for the country. That's not healthy for our political process," the Chicago mayor added. "And the middle class are squeezed economically and we need to continue to give them college assistance for their kids, their healthcare, to economic security that — so they can hold on to that American Dream and pass something to their children that today is under assault."